BEE HEALTHY

Bee Healthy: Embracing Meatless Monday

April 26, 2014 

Was your weekend filled with barbecued ribs? Or maybe you had a huge prime rib dinner at your favorite restaurant. Monday comes and you think, “Maybe I should try to eat healthier this week.” If so, why not jump on the Meatless Monday bandwagon?

Meatless Monday began in 2003 in association with the John Hopkins School of Public Health. It supports the surgeon general’s “Healthy People” report, which includes goals to reduce dietary saturated fat by 15 percent. Meatless Monday also follows the nutrition guidelines developed by the USDA.

Public awareness of Meatless Monday has increased dramatically from 26 percent to 43 percent in two years. You may have seen it on Facebook, Twitter, and the Food Network.

What are the benefits of Meatless Monday?

• Americans eat about 11/2 times the recommended dietary allowance for protein. Protein comes from meat and animal products, providing additional saturated fat in our diet. Meatless Monday is an effective tool for reducing both protein and saturated fat intake.

• Health advantages include lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure and improved blood sugar in type 2 diabetes.

• Lowers the environmental burden of industrial food animal production.

• Great opportunity to increase plant-based foods, like vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains into your diet.

How do I start doing Meatless Monday?

• Make sure that you have plenty of vegetables and fruits in your refrigerator.

• Pull out your favorite recipe book, magazine, or recipe website and look for beans, lentil, or vegetarian dishes.

• Be adventuresome. Try some unusual veggies or fruits in your salads or stir-fry dishes.

• MeatlessMonday.com offers many great resources and recipes to get you inspired.

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RD, of NutritionBabes.com stated: “The path to better health is traveled one step at a time, and removing meat from your meal plan one day per week can be one of those steps.”

So, go head, jump on the Meatless Monday bandwagon and know that you are doing something good for your body and the planet!

Hadley is a registered dietitian at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation.

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