Many people are under the impression that each dinner meal they serve their families must contain some form of meat. Although it is nice to serve meat regularly, it need not be considered as the main ingredient of every meal. In fact, there are a few benefits that you and your family can enjoy by implementing meatless Mondays to your weekly menu planning.
1. Your General Health May Improve
In many cases, people who consume higher amounts of plant-based foods can end up living longer than those who consume a lot of meat every day of the week. If you think that you’ll have to go completely vegetarian and not ever enjoy a juicy steak again in order to reap any health benefits, you would be mistaken. Research has shown that eliminating meat from your family’s diet for only one day a week can help them to live longer and healthier lives.
2. You Could Improve your Heart Health
Reducing the amount of meat you eat can help lower your cholesterol levels substantially. This could result in you experiencing lower blood pressure levels, which will in turn reduce your chances of developing heart disease later in life. It has been suggested that vegetarians have up to a 35% lower risk of dying from coronary-related conditions than people who eat meat every day. Another benefit is that you could reduce your chances of having a stroke by as much as 25% as well.
3. You Can End up Losing Weight
It’s no secret that people who eat a lot of meat struggle to lose weight far more than those who consume more of a plant-based diet. The reason for this is that meatless meals are far lower in fat and calories, which encourages your body to make use of existing fat stores to generate energy. Going meatless once a week will help reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes as well.
4. Potentially Limit your Risk of Developing Cancer
More and more evidence is coming to light which indicates that excessive consumption of meat can increase your chances of developing various forms of cancer. Opting to have one meat-free meal per week will help reduce your chance of being diagnosed with stomach, lung, esophageal, mouth, and stomach, endometrial and colorectal cancers by a substantial amount.
5. Improve the Quality of Your Diet Overall
When you reduce the amount of meat you eat, you will naturally consume more fruits and vegetables to make up for this. Incorporating beans and other protein-rich foods like eggs into your diet instead will help increase the amount of fiber, zinc, folate and magnesium your body absorbs.
6. Reduce your Grocery Budget Substantially
Meat is the most expensive component of a grocery bill – regardless of the type of meat that is purchased. Even ground beef and chicken pieces work out to be far more expensive per pound than the fanciest fruits, vegetables and eggs. Eliminating meat from one to two meals per week can help reduce your grocery bill substantially over the course of a few months.
7. Expand your Food Horizons and treat your Taste Buds
Too many people fall into a food rut of having the same combinations of meat and vegetables on their plates on the same days each week. However, when switching things up a little by incorporating meatless meals, it can encourage you to try different dishes for the first time. Pretty soon, your family will no longer be able to complain about eating the same meals all the time!
8. Decrease your Carbon Footprint Substantially
Replacing meat with meat-free alternatives not only benefits your health and your budget; it will enable you to do your bit for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint as well. It takes up to 1,800 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef compared to just over 100 gallons for one pound of plant-based crop. Farming and raising livestock for meat requires these high amounts of water because of the amount of food that has to be fed the animals throughout the duration of their lives. Doing your bit for the environment could result in a few thousand gallons of water being saved each month.
Although your family may object to not being served meat at every meal in the beginning, they will soon see that there are many tasty meals and recipes available. Over time, you could even find that they start preferring the meat-free alternatives more than meat-based dishes.