Health

3 healthy reasons to try Meatless Monday

Canadian Living
Health

3 healthy reasons to try Meatless Monday

Happy Meatless Monday! Have you jumped on the bandwagon yet? If you haven’t, here’s the deal: dedicate one day a week to meat-free meals and congratulate yourself on a reduced carbon footprint and a gratified Mother Nature. Although, it was developed mainly to promote environmental sustainability, the healthy side effects make it even more tempting to try. Here’s why: 1. Keep your heart healthy. Everyone knows meat is a great source of protein. But it can also be very high in saturated fats, which can raise bad cholesterol levels. There are plenty of veggie alternatives that pack a protein-y punch, including quinoa, soy, nuts and beans. Bonus! Many of these are rich in soluble fiber, which reduces cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream. Put these foods into rotation once a week to keep the whole family heart healthy. Tonight I’ll be making my second batch of these drool worthy Chickpea Burgers. They’re high protein, a great source of fiber and absolutely delicious! [caption id="attachment_2641" align="aligncenter" width="390" caption="A chickpea burger with avocado on a whole wheat pita. A delicious and healthy addition to my weekly meal plan."] [/caption]   2. Lower your risk of certain cancers. Now for the bad news. Many studies have found a link between excessive meat consumption and the risk of certain types of cancers. Scary stuff. On the flip side cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower are thought to contain preventative properties. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends no more than 500g of red meat a week. If you think you might be pushing those limits swapping out the steak for this Lemon Kale with Chickpeas dish tonight could help keep your body’s defenses up. 3. It could help you reach your weight loss goals. In fact, a 2010 study found that between omnivores and abstainers of the same caloric intake, the meat eaters were more likely to gain weight. Yikes! Processed meats were cited as the major contributor. During a hectic day it can be easy to grab street meat or a luncheon meat sub when hunger hits. If these are repeat offenders on your weekly menu, try scheduling a day to replace the high fat, high sodium foods with a 1/2 cup of equally satiating whole wheat pasta. Your waist might thank you for it. Of course, meat can be a great source of nutrients when eaten in the proper proportion. Health Canada’s Food Guide recommends 1 to 3 75g servings per day, about one quarter of your dinner plate. But if you’re looking for a fun and creative way to mix up mealtime and maybe even do your body some good, Meatless Monday may be just the ticket. Are you going meatless tonight? Here are a few of our best meatless dishes for a little inspiration. Happy cooking! Curried Potato Kale Galatte Eggplant and Pasta Charlotte Vegetarian Hummus Burgers Vegetarian Tofu Chili Whole Wheat Pasta with Peppers, Tomatoes and Olives
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3 healthy reasons to try Meatless Monday

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