Eating Less Meat Can Improve Your Wellbeing

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Eating Less Meat Can Improve Your Wellbeing

If you’ve been out to a grocery store lately, chances are, you have probably noticed a significant decrease in the amount of meat that stores have in stock. Around the country, the pandemic has halted packaging at meat packaging factories due to employee sickness and budget cuts. If you are an omnivore like 95% of Americans (according to a 2018 Gallup poll), you might be wondering what meals you are going to be making from your meat-free grocery purchases.

Now is a great time to recognize the benefits of eating less meat, even if you are not vegetarian. Reader’s Digest states that if every American chose to not eat meat just one day a week, that over the course of a year, 1.4 billion animals’ lives would be spared. The world would see a significant decrease in greenhouse gas emissions which would be enough to power 10 billion smart phones.

If you are used to eating meat with every meal, you may not know where to begin when it comes to preparing vegetarian meals. These days, there are tons of options in the grocery store, including plant-based substitutes for meat staples like bacon and hamburgers. Some of the most common vegetarian brands are Morning Star Farms and Boca.

If the thought of meat substitutes makes you queasy, you may want to stick with naturally vegetarian meals at first. One easy-to-cook option is beans and rice. Beans and rice have a long history in many cultures, due to their nutritional profile and their low-cost to prepare. One cup of brown rice and a cup of black beans can have as much as 20 grams of protein combined. The 18.5 grams of fiber in a meal with these two components will keep you feeling full for longer, which can aid with weight loss if recommended by a doctor.

Another plus is that beans and rice is a dish that, with a few extra ingredients, is easily modified into styles like Cajun, Cuban, or Southwestern depending on your taste preferences. You can easily create these meals in bulk and freeze the leftovers for future lunches or dinners.

For further meal ideas, browse the internet for vegetarian meals that appeal to you. Cookie and Kate is a popular website featuring vegetarian meals like acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, goat cheese, and cranberries, and teriyaki stir-fry with vegetables. The site Chowhound recently compiled this list of vegetarian Instagram accounts that will inspire you to get into the kitchen and start using up those vegetables and grains.

Before making any major changes to your diet, you will want to consult your doctor or a nutritionist to ensure you are getting a well-balanced diet. Keep in mind that even if you are eating vegetarian meals out of necessity rather than choice at the moment, you are helping improve the environment and are likely eating more nutrients than you would normally. Medical News Today reports that following a vegetarian (or even vegan) diet can possibly reduce the risk of heart disease as well as certain types of cancer.

While you may find yourself missing out on your favorite non-vegetarian meals over the next few weeks, you could discover a new favorite dish that is better for the planet – and your health.


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