The Meatless Monday hashtag has become a popular trend, having grown to be a significant challenge inspiring lifestyle changes and healthier eating habits. Even if you’re a guy whose idea of a meat-free meal is free-range chicken, you might want to consider dedicating at least one full day to abandoning your carnivorous habits. Whether you practice Meatless Monday on its assigned day or any other day of the week, here are a couple things to consider, and keep in your back pocket, if you’re thinking of going vegetarian for a day.
Experiment before you commit
Meatless Monday is nothing to psyche yourself out over. Just because you may want to give it a try, doesn’t mean that you need to decide whether or not you’re going to be a vegetarian or vegan for the rest of your life. Making the commitment to go meatless one day a week is a great way of seeing if this trend is for you without having to sign up forever.
Think about the main reasons that you automatically opt for meals with meat: You’re too busy to prepare something yourself, and at the end of the day when you get home from work, the last thing you want to do is think about what makes a well-balanced meal. However, you don’t need to eat meat to have a well-balanced meal. Figuring out what these alternate options are, as they can be plant-based and as easy as ordering takeout, will help you maintain your Meatless Monday commitment.
Get creative and take advantage of products that require little effort on your part, such as Veestro. This meal delivery program delivers plant-based entrees directly to your door, and was created for the overworked and overscheduled individual who appreciates a whole foods approach to healthy living, but doesn’t have the time to shop, chop and cook organic, or even think about eating meat-free for that matter.
Make sure you’re getting enough protein
One of the main concerns people have when choosing to eat less meat, whether for Meatless Monday or for the rest of their lives, is getting enough protein. This is especially true for athletes or anyone who works out regularly. And they’re right, proteins are our bodies’ building blocks, and you need them to keep your muscles well-supplied. Since they take longer to digest than carbohydrates, they help you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories. However, it’s important to know that you don’t need to eat meat in order to get enough protein. There are several vegan and vegetarian protein sources to choose from, ones that require little thought or effort.
Snacks and additives
Serving up convenience in a healthy form, snacks can be a great way to supplement your Meatless Monday, such as Carrington Farms Flax Hemp Paks. They’re ready-to-eat single serve packets that contain a daily dosage of essential nutrients, and are also the perfect travel companion for the on-the-go, health conscious guy. By adding one to two Paks of the Flax Hemp blend to yogurts, smoothies, oatmeal, or sprinkling them on salads, cereals, quinoa, and even fruits and vegetables, you’re automatically upping your nutrient intake without having to measure the right amount for you to actually benefit from.
Enhance the flavor on what would be boring meals
When we think of our meals with meat, we imagine well-seasoned chicken or perfectly cooked, juicy steaks. It’s understandable how it would be difficult to picture your Meatless Monday meals of leafy greens and chopped up veggies, tasting as good as a big fat cheeseburger. But it is possible, and much easier and healthier than you might think. Simply up your flavor-enhancing game with a couple of zesty additions.
Mustard (we’re loving Colman’s Mustard these days) needs to be a staple in the pantry for your Meatless Monday meals. You typically think of using it as a main condiment for your burgers and hot dogs, but now it’s going to be the main ingredient for your dry rubs and marinades on veggies and fish, dips for Monday Night Football, and salad dressings for lunches to-go. First of all, it’s one of the healthier condiments to choose from with 0 grams of fat, especially considering mayo adds 10 grams of fat per tablespoon and most ranch dressings contain 14 grams of fat. But more importantly than just cutting calories, mustard can replace other traditionally used ingredients in common recipes, adding flavor in the process.
Extra-virgin olive oil
One way to make veggies taste better is with a quality extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is the cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet — an essential nutritional mainstay for the world’s longest-living cultures. Many of the health-promoting effects of the Mediterranean diet have been attributed to olive oil consumption. But remember, not all EVOOS are created equal. Many are falsely labeled, so make sure you select a high quality brand that has been tested for maximum flavor. Gaea EVOO, for example, is made from handpicked olives and its Aromatic EVOO collection comes in three varieties – flavored with lemon, basil or garlic to create a healthy kitchen time-saver. This naturally flavored olive oil is a delectable accompaniment to salads, seafood and grilled fish or meat.