The Ultimate Guide to Easy Meatless Meals
How Meatless Meals Can Help Your Family
You can easily improve your health and save money by implementing meatless meals into your life. There are thousands of recipes online and many great meatless cookbooks to choose from too.
Nervous About How Your Family Will React?
Have no fear! Quick and tasty meatless recipes are easy to find and if worse comes to worse, you can always brown some beef or fry up some chicken breasts for any family members who refuse to give this a try.
You don’t have to be a gourmet cook in order to make tasty meatless meals. Obviously, Macaroni and Cheese, Salads and Vegetable soup are some foods that people traditionally think of as vegetarian. But there are thousands of great recipes that will surprise and impress your family.
How to Get Your Family On Board with Meatless Meals:
- Start with Meatless Mondays. Plan one or more days a week where you will cook a meal without meat. If you want to go Vegan, like they talk about in the Forks Over Knives DVD, then you’ll want to avoid dairy products too.This way your family will be able to see that they can eat a tasty meal and it doesn’t have to contain meat.
- Share the health and budget benefits of eating vegan meals with your family. A great way to do this is to watch a video about it (Like Forks Over Knives). Or you can just share tidbits about the health benefits of eating vegan each night at dinner.
Since the push for Meatless Mondays began to make us aware of the impact that eating meat has on our health, pocketbook and the environment, meatless recipes have become popular and you can find a plethora of cookbooks and online sites that offer food combinations (without meat) that will make your mouth water.
Whether you’re an avid vegetarian or a person who’s trying to improve yours and your family’s health, save money and leave less of a carbon footprint on the planet, trying different meatless recipes is a great way to make it happen.
And, you can substitute meat in almost any of your own recipes by utilizing one or more of the many meat substitutes that can be found in your local supermarket.
Do you think that meatless or Vegan meals take longer? Well, they don’t! Most meatless recipes take about 30 minutes to make. If you’re using meat for a meal, you have to thaw the meat and cook it until it’s done which takes a lot longer.
Benefits of Eating Meatless
- Save money
- Save time waiting for meat to thaw and cook
- Possibly feel better and have more energy
Let’s face it, thousands of people around the world live very well without any meat in their diet. People throughout the centuries have often gone through life eating very little meat.
Going meatless was encouraged during World War I and II, when rationing meat and other staples became part of the overall war effort.
Eastern cultures have been promoting a lower meat diet for generations. Also, scientific and medical reports show that these cultures are the healthiest in the world. Obesity is not prominent in cultures that practice mostly vegetarian lifestyles.
I have looked over many diet plans over the years and this one makes the most sense of all. It has been the easiest for our family to implement too.
I get concerned about some of the Keto diet plans I see. They seem to focus so much on dairy products and meat and seem to take a lot of extra planning and ingredients to implement. And if you’re not getting good grass-fed meat or organic dairy, you might be doing more to harm your health than if you ate a regular diet.
What the Medical Community Says About Meatless Meals:
- Physicians and dieticians are urging us to eat more meals based on a meatless diet to improve our health and combat the effects of obesity that’s costing our health care system millions in side effects.
- Heart disease, cancer, and strokes are just a few of the health concerns that have been linked to eating too much meat. That is now an easy fix, because there are so many ways to cut down on meat and still ensure nutrition and taste.
- There are now proven health benefits associated with eating less saturated fat that is found in meat. This type of fat pollutes our arteries and can cause heart damage. Going meatless at least one day per week can dramatically reduce your bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides that cause strokes, heart disease, and other health problems.
Meatless Meals Can Be Quicker and Reduce Stress
Another benefit that going meatless brings to your household is that it helps to relieve the stress you feel when you’re trying to fix a healthy meal for your family and run out of time it takes to thaw and cook meat.
Meatless meals are usually quick and easy. You can even prepare them ahead of time and they won’t dry out and lose taste when you heat them up as leftovers. Those who practice Meatless Mondays report that aside from the health benefits, going meatless leaves them with time to spare for their families.
Browse through some online meatless recipes and find a few that you can try for your family. Chances are, they’ll request it again.
- Beans and Legumes – black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, aduki beans, navy beans, chickpeas, split peas, peanuts and black-eyed peas, and more.
- Bulgar wheat
- Eggplant, cauliflower, potatoes, beets and coconut
- Less popular choices include tofu, tempeh and TVP (texturized vegetable protein)
I have also found that cooking with whole wheat noodles tends to fill us up well too. Brown and wild rice can give a nutty texture like you would get from ground beef.
When my family doesn’t want to eat meatless, I just make one of these items listed above and offer it as a side dish. Then I use that as my main dish and they eat it as a side dish if they want.
Meatless Mondays for Better Health
One reason that meatless Mondays is being promoted in America is because of the obesity problems that exist in both children and adults. Obesity is causing a strain on our medical system and early deaths and chronic diseases – and leaders are now realizing the importance of eating healthier.
Schools and hospitals have adapted to the nationwide promotion to eat less meat, and meatless meats (plant based food) are being developed that mimic meat in both texture and taste, giving you options that were never offered before.
Meatless Mondays has become the term used to describe a day when Americans can improve health, save money and reduce the environmental impact on the planet by choosing to serve one meatless meal per week.
The national campaign is popular among schools, restaurants and supermarkets. Many markets offer money-saving deals on meatless ingredients used to create the meatless meals.
Give meatless Mondays a chance to improve your health and help you lose unwanted pounds. Browse online for some meatless recipes that appeal to you and be adventurous in trying new ideas that will boost you and your family’s health and welfare.
Our Favorite Books with Vegan Recipes
Watch the Forks Over Knives movie first and then get all the Forks Over Knives cookbooks because they are all good.
Create your own meatless dishes from your own recipes. Add in some of the substitutes I listed above and be creative.
Vegan Products Available to Substitute for Meat
As we struggle to improve our health and save money – and the environment – cutting down on our meat consumption has become an important part of our lives. But, you don’t have to give up the taste or even the texture of meat when there are meatless meats available that might fool even the most avid carnivore.
Breakfast Strips – These are available from Morningstar farms as a bacon substitute. I couldn’t figure out if these are vegan. So if you’re trying to stay strict vegan, you might want to read up on these first before you order them.
Just Like Chicken and Just Like Beef – If you’re craving the consistency of meat for some reason then these products are good to try. These meatless items contain no fat or cholesterol and are usually lower in calories than their real meat counterparts.
These are made from TVP (texturized vegetable protein) which has been around for years and used as a meat substitute.
Beef crumbles are made with soy and used as a ground beef substitute for soups, tacos, chili, spaghetti sauces and just about anything else you’d use in a recipe calling for ground beef. You can keep these items frozen until ready to use – and they require much less cooking time than meat.
Meat Substitutes – There are other brands and types of meat substitutes that can be found online or in specialty markets or health food stores. Manufacturers of these meat substitutes and health food items are constantly trying new techniques to mimic the taste and texture of real meat while giving the consumer a healthy alternative to meat.
Personally, I don’t feel the need to eat these meat substitutes. I use the grains, noodles, beans, and products listed above to fill me up.
Experimenting with meatless meats can be a culinary adventure and can help those meat cravings by providing a healthy and tasty substitute.
I know I have not craved meat since starting my vegan journey. The substitutes I have made have been more than satisfying to me.
We have saved a lot of money on groceries but we don’t use the processed meat substitutes mentioned here. These could add some to your food budget because they are a bit more expensive than the substitutes I mentioned at first.
Meatless Foods You Can Learn to Love
Meatless foods have come a long way from the tasteless tofu variety that we once had to choose from. The meatless meats now resemble both the texture and taste of meat so well that it could fool even the most dyed in the wool carnivore you know.
But, you don’t have to resort to meatless meats to get taste and comfort from vegetarian meals. Recipes that include mostly staples that you have in your pantry and refrigerator are wonderful and nutritious to serve to your family. Plus, these foods can save money on your grocery bill.
Vegetarian black bean chili is a winner and so are pizzas, stacked high with lots of veggies and cheese. Veggie burgers that you make yourself or the frozen, packaged type that come under the names of “Boca Burgers” or “Gardenburgers” are great to grill outdoors, bake or heat in the frying pan.
Delicious meatless foods are available straight from your supermarket – and balanced recipes are available in cookbooks and online if you need inspiration to get started. Even restaurants are offering meatless entrees on their menus in support of including less meat in our diets.
Pros and Cons of Meatless Diets
Health conscious Americans are adopting meatless diets into their lifestyles more and more these days. Other countries, mostly in Europe, have already learned that eating mostly meatless meals helps health and environmental issues.
It’s no secret that eating meat has been linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and other life-shortening maladies.
Some of these vegetarian diets are very restrictive and others allow a great deal of flexibility. For example, vegans eat only fruits and vegetables and no dairy by-products or eggs. The more restrictive you choose to become, the more difficult it becomes to find variety and to get enough protein and maintain your health.
By including meatless meals in your weekly planning, you’ll definitely cut calories and fat (especially saturated fats found in meat), cholesterol and sodium. Other benefits of following a meatless diet plan include losing weight and helping the environment.
While optimal health can be reached while following a vegetarian diet, you can also find detriments. For example, many vegetarians consume too much sugar and carbohydrates and this overindulgence can also be detrimental to your health. If you don’t get a complete protein from your diet, you can become anemic, so it’s important to calculate your protein intake correctly.
Studies on people who are vegetarians compared to those who eat meat often take into consideration the lifestyles, such as how many exercise, how many are smokers and how many exercise on a regular basis.
Before you consider adapting your lifestyle to one of several available meatless diets, speak to a dietician to see if it’s acceptable with your health issues and possibility of future problems relating to vegetarianism.
Meatless Products Can Make Meal Planning Easier
You’d have to be living under a rock to have not noticed all the meatless brand choices offered at your local supermarkets and health food stores today. Brands such as Morningstar Farms, Boca and Weight Watchers all manufacture products designed to spice up your meal times without using meat.
These meatless products are comprised mostly of soy and other seasonings, making them somewhat nutritious and tasty.
Soy in Moderation
Soy can be good for you if you don’t consume too much. Studies have shown that ingesting only 25 grams of soy protein on a daily basis can lower your cholesterol level significantly.
Soy is also easily digestible and provides all of the nine essential amino acids necessary for your body’s nutritional balance. Soy can easily be called ‘a wonder food.’ It takes much less water and space to produce a pound of soy than it does to produce a pound of beef and offers much more nutrition.
Plus, it’s one of the healthiest sources of protein on the Earth. When you plan meals that include soy, you can be assured of getting the most ‘bang’ for your buck and help your family retain or regain their health.
The humble soy bean has been widely utilized in Asian countries and is considered one of five ‘sacred’ grains. Soy beans were eventually introduced to America and other western countries in the mid-1700s.
Meatless products have virtually changed the way we think about meat and cooking healthy meals. It’s easier to plan meals and save money and time with all the products that are available to us today.
So what do you think of trying to cook more meatless meals? Are you interested in going Vegan possibly?
Here is another helpful article – Easy Ways to Make an Amazing Meatless Dinner in Minutes