Wow. January is, like, over. Done. Bye Bye! One Bombcyclone, several below 10 degree days, a few podcast episodes in the can, and many nights of staying in to Netflix ‘N Chill with Mr E helped pass the cold days. For the final addition in my NEW-trition Goals for the New Year series, I wanted to address something that is definitely becoming as much of a food trend as it is a health and environmental matter. As I wrote about in my FNCE recap, plant-based protein is where it’s at this year. So, without further ado, I present to you NEW-trition Goal for the New Year #4: LEAN OUT THE MEAT
Sure, I stopped eating beef and pork a long time ago simply because I just didn’t like it. But my intention for writing this post is not to push any of my food beliefs on you. I’m just here to share facts and why you and your significant other may want to consider cutting back on meat in your household. And when I’m talking about meat, what I’m really talking about is any animal flesh foods: beef, pork, chicken, and fish (yes, my beloved seafood!), along with their relatives. Other foods originating from animals, including eggs and dairy, do not fall into this category.
New-trition Goals for the New Year:
#4: LEAN OUT THE MEAT
BENEFITS OF EATING LESS MEAT
#1: The Cost: This was alluded to last week in my Cutting Food Costs post. Plant-based foods are less expensive, animal protein costs more. Foods made from plant-based sources are grown to be mass produced and involve little additional work once they are ready for cultivation. Animal food products involve more work preparing for human consumption and packaging. More hands involved = more people to pay = higher food cost.
#2: Less Food Waste: In addition to an increase in cost, animal products also cause more food waste. Think about how much of a carrot you throw away vs consume. Maybe you cut off the ends and peel away the skin. Now think about how much of an animal is disposed of vs consumed. Every time I go to my local fishery I watch as a good-size fish gets cut down to two thin fillets and the rest goes in the trash. So even one day of cutting back on meat helps good ol’ Mama Earth.
#3: Health Benefits: Did you think this Registered Dietitian wasn’t going to address the health aspect of eating meat? Frequent consumption of meats, particularly red meats, has been linked to health risks including overall mortality, heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Red and processed meat intake has also been linked to inflammation and obesity. Yes, eating seafood has been shown to have health benefits that help prevent inflammation, heart disease, and can help manage body weight. But a goal is to get a mix of foods at each and every meal. Eating more plant-based foods can help reduce saturated fat intake, increase fiber intake, and supply a variety of vitamins and minerals. All of these have been shown to promote weight management and prevent the conditions listed above. Treat yourself to the meat foods every so often, and it gives you something to look forward to along with giving your health some added love.
WHERE ELSE CAN I FIND PROTEIN?
Animals are not the end all, be all when it come to protein sources. Sure, they may traditionally be considered a more complete source of protein, but there are many sources of protein that are equal to animal protein. Check out the below graphic to get some ideas on where else you can find protein. Want to get started trying more more plant-based meals? Check out the NEW Wildtree Veggie Lovers Meal Prep Kit!
A quick note: avocados, spinach, and kale are NOT sources of protein! I hear this so frequently while working with client or doing presentations. Great sources of fiber? Absolutely! Protein? Not to much.
HOW TO GET STARTED
After reading this post, have I convinced you and your Significant Other to consider leaning back on the meat? There’s a few easy ways to get started that don’t involve a complete life overhaul or saying “Bye Bye” to BBQ.
- Meatless Monday: Perhaps the most well-known campaign towards cutting back on meat. Pick any day of the week to dedicate to being a meat-free day. Check out the website that started it all for recipes and more info.
- Blenditarian: I absolutely love this initiative created by the Mushroom Council, which encourages blending mushrooms in place of half the meat typically used in recipes. You can do this with burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, tacos, or really any dish you see fit. Get more recipes and take the Blenditarian Pledge.
- 1 Meat Meal a Day: Nothing too dramatic here. Simply aim to only eat one meal a day containing meat. Experiment with your other meals by trying some of the plant-based and vegetarian sources of protein shared above.
For even more ways you can make lifestyle changes as a couple, make sure to check out my 52 Weeks to Your Happily Health-fully Ever After weekly email series.
RECIPES TO LEAN OUT THE MEAT!
Theses are some of my favorite creative non-meat recipes on this blog:
And for even more recipes and ideas to lean out the meat, check out these blogs from my Dietitian colleagues that feature non-meat recipes:
- Amy’s Eats List by Amy Gorin
- Eat Real, Live Well by Kelly Jones
- Food Confidence by Danielle Omar
- One Hungry Bunny by Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan
- Tamar Rothenberg
- The Plant-Powered Dietitian by Sharon Palmer
Does leaning out the meat still sound like a wacky, hippie dippy idea to try in your home??? Try a few of these tips to see what works best and what your new faves may be. Remember, it’s al about what you can do MORE of this year.
Out of the four NEW-trition for the new year goals I posted about these past few weeks, which do you feel is your top to focus on with your Significant Other?
HOW DO YOU CURRENTLY TRY TO LEAN OUT THE MEAT?
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR VEGETARIAN AND PLANT-BASED SWAPS FOR PROTEIN?
SHARE YOUR FAVE MEALS & RECIPES BY TAGGING ME (@mandyenrightRD) ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND USING #NUTRITIONNUPTIALS!
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