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Posted by: Terri Mendoza

 

Are you a meat lover?  Do you or your family consider a meal without meat to be…well, not really a meal?  While meats are a good source of protein, iron and zinc, they can also be high in fat.  You may have heard that too much red meat can increase your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer, and that going meatless once in a while is a good idea.  A group associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health calls for cutting out meat one day a week, and promotes “Meatless Monday” as a way to do that.  (Visit their website, www.meatlessmonday.com for lots of great tips.)  Are you ready to join the club?  While fish and chicken are good substitutes for red meat, why not try taking a break from all meat once a week and experiment.  Here are some ideas that will not make you miss meat for a minute!

  • There are a wide variety of meat substitutes on the market now that taste better than ever.  Frozen veggie burgers made from mushrooms, beans, or brown rice are easy to prepare and taste great.  Top them with lettuce, tomato, low-fat cheese, avocado slices and BBQ sauce to please those burger fans. 
  • The hearty taste and texture of beans make them a great substitute.  Add plenty of spices, like chile powder, ground cumin, crushed red pepper and chopped vegetables for a hearty chili.
  • Tofu is a great firm-textured substitute for meat.  It has almost no taste, but takes on the flavor of the ingredients it is added to.  Stir fry tofu cubes with finely chopped garlic and sliced onions, peppers, carrots and broccoli.  Serve over brown rice and you have a great meatless Asian-themed dinner. 
  • Add sautéed eggplant to tomato sauce and serve over whole wheat pasta.  Sprinkle with low-fat grated cheese and your family won’t be looking for any meatballs!

Here’s to Meatless Mondays—and Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and…  Do you have any meatless recipe ideas to share?  We would love to hear from you!

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