Meat is a great source of protein and vitamins. It is a staple in many dishes and recipes across the world and is probably one of your favorite ingredients to enjoy at home. However, eating too much meat can increase your chances of getting various health conditions.
Whatever the reason, be it for health or the environment, we're breaking down simple tips you can use to reduce the amount of meat you eat.
Make Meat Your Side Dish
It's easy to always include meat as your main food item in every meal. To help switch things up, make your meat of choice a small side dish instead of your usual serving. Instead, load up on vegetables or, if you prefer, do multiple side dishes tapas style, so you have a variety of foods to choose from.
Another idea you could try is using meat as a topping. Try sprinkling bacon on your mashed potatoes with a dollop of sour cream and some green onions. If you're a nachos fan, toss in a few spoonfuls of chicken or beef along with your other toppings of choice.
Try One Meatless Day a Week
If you can't stand the idea of quitting meat cold turkey (pun intended), start small by only cutting it out one day a week. On the days you cut meat out completely, make sure you are eating other protein sources and filling foods to help curb your appetite. Over time as you do this, try to increase the number of days per week that you go meat-free.
Incorporate Other Protein-Rich Foods into Your Diet
While some may think meat is the most adequate way to consume protein, there are other tasty and filling options. Here are some other meatless protein-rich foods you can include in your meals: beans, lentils, tofu, grains, green peas, nuts, nutritional yeast, egg whites, chia seeds, greek yogurt, and peanut butter.
Eat Meat Only in One Meal per Day
To maintain your health, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are a must. Try to cut out meat from your recipes for two of the three meals you have per day. Most people opt to only include meat in their dinner entree and exclude it from breakfast and lunch. Others prefer a hearty breakfast or lunch and will ditch meat for dinner. It really just depends on your personal preferences when it comes to the recipes you're making.
Explore Meat Alternatives
On top of eating other protein-rich foods that aren't meat, companies are constantly innovating and developing meatless meat alternatives that taste almost like real meat, if not better than the real stuff.
Next time you go to the grocery store, be on the lookout for some of these alternatives: Beyond Meat, Gardein products, Hilary's Organic Veggie Sausage, Impossible Burger, Lightlife Meatless Smart Jerky, MorningStar Farms Veggie Bacon Strips, Whole Foods 365 Meatless Meatballs, LikeMeat Like Chick'n Wings, and many other options. These products will vary based on the store you shop at.
Go Meatless With a Friend
You know what they say, doing things in pairs can be just as fun as doing it alone. Phone a friend and ask them to join in on your meatless journey. Doing this with a friend will hold both of you accountable. To get creative, you and your friend could do meatless Mondays and cook a meal at home together or order a meatless dish from your favorite restaurant. You could make or buy a dessert as a reward for not eating meat after a period of time.
Make Going Meatless Goal-Oriented
Are you trying to lose weight? Aiming to consistently hit the gym more often? Regardless of what personal goals you have, you can easily tie it to your diet. For example, reducing your meat consumption can actually help with weight loss and can reduce your chances of health conditions.
While we need protein to fuel our bodies for the gym, many gym-goers seek out multiple protein sources to help them build muscle and stay fit. If you cut out meat completely, as a reward when you hit a new PR or have an amazing day at the gym, treat yourself to a meal with a little bit of meat. That way, it turns into something you've earned and acts as a rarity instead of a regular everyday occurrence.
Reducing your meat intake can help reduce your risk of developing certain health conditions.
Meatless protein sources include lentils, peanut butter, tofu, and meatless meat alternatives.
Reducing your meat intake can help support weight loss goals.