Welcome to Meatless Mondays!
Join the challenge to eat more plant-based foods.
Skip the meat and eat more fruits and veggies to battle the big four: CANCER, HEART DISEASE, STROKE and DIABETES. Going meatless on Mondays helps you get in the habit of including more plant-based foods at meals and snacks all week long, which is healthful whether or not you choose to include meat! It includes eating all types of plant foods like fruit, vegetables, nuts/seeds, beans, lentils and whole grains, plus dairy foods.
Benefits of incorporating more of these foods include:
• Immune system support
• Lower inflammation
• Improved gut health
• Healthy weight maintenance
• Reduced risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes
• Mental health benefits
Tasty Recipes and Tricks
Let's start off with a way to support your immune system! Eat zinc to boost immune function and help you taste and smell. For a plant-based recipe that contains a top vegetarian source of zinc (peanuts), try Liz Weiss’ Pantry Peanut Butter and Chickpea Soup.
Eating consistently throughout the day provides you with the energy needed to stay focused. Try these tips and recipes for easy grab-n'-go lunches to munch on for fuel throughout your day.
Mason jar meals can be prepped in advance, travel well and provide plenty of whole grains and veggies. Just toss your favorite salad ingredients into a mason jar! Bananas, oranges, berries, mini bell peppers, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas will add fiber and nutrients to any meal. Handheld lunches are convenient and a great way to make leftovers portable; simply wrap in a tortilla or lettuce. Bean Burritos, Teriyaki Vegetable Stir Fry or Curried Tofu Papaya Wraps are all tasty combos. Prevention RD's Crunchy Veggie Wrap (pictured) comes together quickly.
Stabilizing glucose throughout the day is key to managing diabetes and healthy snacks can play a big role. While nuts and cheese are delicious stand-by options, they may become monotonous. Mix it up with these other options to help manage blood sugar throughout the day.
- Hard-boiled eggs are a perfect combination of protein and fat. Add a couple whole wheat crackers for crunch.
- Non-starchy vegetables (baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery or cucumber slices) paired with cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or hummus provide plenty of protein and vitamins, with the added benefit of fiber.
- Another classic, balanced combo is apple slices or banana with seed butter. Give pumpkin or sunflower seed butter a try.
- Bottom line: look for options that combine adequate protein, healthy fats and limited carbohydrates.
Have time to whip up a couple recipes? Check out Strawberry Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bark or Lemon-Parm Popcorn from EatingWell. For another tasty make ahead snack, try registered dietitian Rebecca Bitzer’s Cowboy Caviar, right there in the photo.
Dairy doesn’t agree with everyone. So, whether you're lactose intolerant, dairy sensitive or simply trying to limit your intake, look no further for healthy nondairy recipes and snack ideas. Since dairy is an excellent source of calcium and fortified with vitamin D, try to incorporate foods into your diet which contain those key nutrients. Fruits and veggies are always a delicious go-to snack. Look for pre-chopped options at your local grocer for added convenience.
Power of Plant Protein
Eating a variety of vegetarian protein sources is key to ensuring you’re consuming all essential amino acids. Focusing on complete proteins will help meet your daily protein requirements. Sources of vegetarian complete proteins include: eggs, quinoa, soy (tofu, tempeh, edamame), mycoprotein, hemp seeds and chia seeds. Throughout the day, incorporate foods that combine complementary protein sources. Rice and beans, peanut butter and toast, or hummus and pita bread are great combinations that provide all nine essential amino acids. Remember, it’s not necessary to eat these foods in one meal to be effective.
Looking for more?
Click below to schedule a nutritional counseling appointment online with Julie Mahler, MS, RDN, CD.
Services available by telehealth in Washington State or at our clinic in Mill Creek, WA.