In these tough economic times, recent news that meat and dairy prices are on the rise may seem like a dark cloud looming over your grocery budget. However, there is a silver lining in the forecast—the opportunity to load up on more veggies with meatless meals.
Going meatless may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
And since recent studies suggest that only 11% of us are getting the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, going meatless just makes good sense.
To help you incorporate more meatless meals in your household, the “Meatless Mondays” website is a great resource for recipes and tips. The site is sponsored by a non-profit initiative called The Monday Campaign in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.
There’s a good reason why the organization selected Monday as the best day to make a lifestyle change. As they explain, “It’s the January of the week, the perfect time for a fresh start. People are more likely to begin exercising, start a diet or quit smoking on Monday than any other day. It’s a call to action built into every calendar – 52 chances a year to live a longer, healthier life!”
More Meatless Benefits
Going meatless will give you other opportunities to make healthy, environmentally-friendly food choices. For example, since you are upping your veggie intake, you may want to visit a farmer’s market for fresh, locally grown produce. As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, there are numerous benefits to shopping at farmers markets including fresh, better tasting produce, lower or competitive pricing, and supporting the local community.
Since this week is National Farmer’s Market Week, it’s the perfect time to explore your local market. To find one near you, try searching these two nationwide databases: Local Harvest or the USDA Farmers Market Search.
And finally, how you prepare produce can affect its nutritional value. For example, most vegetables retain more of their health benefits when they are eaten raw. We explore why a growing number of people are choosing a “raw food” diet with The Raw Food Revolution: The Benefits of Living Foods.