Cut Back the Meat, Fill up Your Wallet
Do your New Year’s resolutions include eating healthy and trying to trim your budget as well? One way to accomplish both of these goals is to change your weekly menu up to include at least one meatless meal a week.
While ditching meat altogether may not be up your alley, making a small twinge to your overall eating behaviour can yield big results.
Good for the Wallet
Meat, regardless of the cut, is likely one of the highest cost centres when it comes to your grocery bill.
It stands to reason that you can reduce this cost by shifting focus towards another aisle at the grocery store (like canned or dried beans or legumes).
Good for your Health
It is a widely known fact that health advocates suggest consumption of meat (red meat in particular) should be monitored.
Cutting back on meat means cutting back on saturated fats and can help ward off diseases like Cancer, Diabetes and Cardiovascular disease.
There are weight-loss benefits as well. Many meatless options are high in both protein and fibre-meaning that they keep you more full for longer- warding off the temptation to overeat.
Good for the Environment
One of the great by-product benefits of reducing your meat consumption is that you are helping Mother Earth at the same time by reducing your overall carbon footprint. Meat production takes a lot of energy and water, and is responsible for high Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In cutting back on meat, you are helping to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, water and land.
While you can certainly opt for this any day of the week, the worldwide movement called “Meatless Monday” gives context and schedule to this behaviour change (visit the Canadian Chapter of this movement at https://meatlessmondays.ca/).
What about the Protein?
Most adults need in the neighbourhood of about 50 grams of protein a day (which is close to what a 8-oz piece of meat will offer).
Conversely, a cup of legumes will offer about 15 grams of protein. You can also get protein to round it out from yogurt, milk and cheese- which will have you leaving the table with your nutritional requirements satisfied.
My Kids Won’t Like This
Sure they will! Incorporate kid-friendly faves like Mac&Cheese, made with protein-rich cheeses like ricotta and cheddar and home-made baked beans (which are surprisingly easy to make and are always well received).
Does your family thrive on their tried-and-true favourites? Try swapping out the meat in favour of a vegetarian option instead.
For instance, instead of your standard spaghetti and meatballs, take out the meatballs and put in canned lentils instead- still packing the protein punch you need.
Does your family enjoy stir-frys? Follow your usual recipes, but used cubed tofu in place of chicken pieces.
Instead of your usual chili, swap out the hamburger meat and use a variety of beans (black beans, navy beans and chickpeas are a good mix).
Flavour does not have to dwindle just because you take the meat out.