You don’t have to become a vegetarian to eat meatless meals. Whether you plan to stop eating meat eventually or just want a healthier regimen, consider these reasons to include more meatless meals in your weekly diet.
Cut down on calories
Fatty cuts of meat, particularly pork and beef, are often cheaper than the leaner versions, so people tend to take in more calories than they need. Even chicken, largely regarded as a lean meat, can be high in calories if cooked with the skin on or fried in butter.
If you want to lose weight and improve heart health, cutting meat out of a few meals a week can be a great way to reduce caloric intake (as long as you don’t replace the meat with other fatty foods). According to fitday.com, vegetarians on average are found to weigh 15% less than meat eaters.
Meat (especially if you are fond of the good cuts such as steak and lamb chops), can be very expensive, which often precludes those on a budget from buying anything but the low fat, heavily-processed variety.
Cutting meat out of two or three meals a week can save you money that you can then spend on other things. Learn to cook without relying on meat substitutes that are often just as expensive as meat. Instead, look for bean-rich recipes, or try tofu.
Introduce more vegetables in your diet
There are so many different types of vegetables available, yet people in the West tend to stick to two or three regular types:€“ carrots, peas and broccoli. When accompanied by rice or potatoes and a slab of meat, it often doesn’t seem necessary to opt for anything else.
However, vegetables are highly nutritious and, according to the Mayo Clinic, meatless meals are healthier than the meat-laden versions. Hopefully, if you cut meat out, you will be willing to try a wider range of vegetables. A combination of starchy vegetables, such as squash and parsnip, along with green leaves like spinach will ensure a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
No need to cook different meals for vegetarian friends
So many people are vegetarian these days that it’s unusual if you don’t know one. You may even have family members who are vegetarian and for whom you need to prepare separate meals on a regular basis. If you accept that you are going to eat vegetarian meals yourself two or three times a week, the burden on you to prepare different dishes will be removed.
Even if you don’€™t have vegetarian family members, going meatless a couple of times a week will help introduce them to the option, if they decide to go vegetarian later on.
Experiment with new recipes
If you’ve always seen vegetables as an accompaniment to meat dishes, the chances are that you have never really enjoyed the variation and flavors that different vegetables can give you. In addition, herbs and spices can taste very different when mixed with vegetables than they do with meat, so you can experiment with new tastes that most appeal to you. There are plenty of recipes online to try out, but you can also mix and match your own ideas.
Fitting in more meatless dishes to your weekly menu has many advantages, and hopefully your increased intake of vitamins and minerals will mean a new, healthy you.