I’ve conquered Meatless Mondays – the global trend of eating meatless proteins every Monday instead of meat. I’m a pro at grabbing an almond ‘Kind’ bar for breakfast, falafel and hummus for lunch, and then whipping up a chia seed smoothie for dinner. But then Tuesday rolls around, and my lips wrap around a chicken burger faster than you can say holy cow! It’s not Monday, so it’s okay if I eat meat, right?
Actually, the more meatless meals you eat, the healthier you’ll be, because it lowers your risk of heart disease, obesity, and even depression. Flexitarians are people that eat meat just a few times a week or month, and vegetarians have an increased lifespan of 3-5 years, weigh up to 17 pounds less, and have 30% lower cancer risk compared to meat eaters, according to US News and World Report! The reason their diet is so healthy is because meatless proteins like tempeh, freekeh, and sunflower seeds have many more valuable nutrients than meat. These include monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber. Eating less meat also helps the environment by reducing water, land, and energy use.
You may be wondering, how do I move past Monday and make the rest of the week meatless too? Keep reading to find out your healthy meatless options beyond Meatless Monday! Meatless Monday is popular because the catchy phrase piqued your creativity as well as your taste buds. Here are six equally catchy, and relatively new, meatless options for every other day of the week:
Wild Rice and Mushroom Wednesday
Thai Noodle Thursday
Sunflower Seed Sunday
These menu options provide unique ideas to keep you interested in what to eat each day!
- Tuesdays are less tough with tempeh, a soy-based dish with 10 grams of protein per serving. Start the day with tempeh hash: stir-fry tempeh, baked sweet potatoes and kale with turmeric, paprika, and Dijon mustard. (Also try this popular tempeh chili with kidney and pinto beans, tomato sauce, cumin and chili powder.) Full recipes can be found at food52.com/recipes.
- On Wednesday your day is set with wild rice and mushroom. Try this super high-protein Almond mushroom and wild rice recipe from tasteofhome.com/recipe. The high fiber content will keep you full and satisfied. Wild rice is loaded with protein, while mushrooms provide mood-boosting B- and D-vitamins.
- Thursday is Thai noodle day. From thaifood.about.com, make pad Thai noodles with vegetables by stir frying garlic, onion, just boiled noodles, egg, and pad Thai sauce together, then adding bean sprouts and peanuts. (Pad Thai is one of my favorite Asian dishes because the noodles are lightweight and the rice noodles meet my gluten- free needs.) This high protein dish has more than 10 grams of protein.
- Make it ‘Freekeh’ Friday with the Mediterranean whole-wheat cereal packed with fiber and flavor. Try this delicious roasted freekeh, cauliflower, and tahini recipe from cookieandkate.com. Freekeh cooks in a shorter amount of time than many whole grains, and provides a satisfying chewy texture.
- Saturday is seitan day. Don’t worry, it rhymes with something scary, but seitan is a harmless and protein- filled wheat- based product. Make your own meatless (and therefore low calorie) BBQ ribs by mixing seitan, soy sauce, nut butter, and garlic powder together, then baking and grilling. The full 5-star recipe is on food.com.
- Sunday is sunflower seed day (get it?) Make delicious sunflower seed cream cheese by cookingwithplants.com. Simply blend ½ cup of sunflower seeds, lemon juice, onion powder, and scallions together, then add the vegan ‘cream cheese’ to crackers for a protein-filled (10 grams) meal. This is actually very easy to make and has a light, tart flavor.
To easily incorporate this healthy eating habit in your life, stock these meatless items in your house at all times. Eat at restaurants and shop at grocery stores that advertise meatless options. Lastly, stay motivated, on track, and up to date with new recipes by connecting with other meatless individuals.
Want to read more about the benefits of Meatless Mondays? Check out this post!