We’ve all heard different ideas around having a meatless meal once in a while. Some people say going meatless once a week is better for your health. Some people say going meatless once a week is better for the environment. No matter one’s reasons for cutting down on their meat consumption, it can take a little extra thought and preparation to feel full and satisfied when you’re used to having meat be the main staple of your meal.
We’re here to help you with your meatless journey! In this blog, we’re going to be exploring some of the benefits of cutting meat out for one meal a week, how to make a meatless meal just as satisfying, and of course, we’ll leave you with some recipes to try it out!
Benefits of one meatless meal a week
There are many schools of thought around how much meat the average person should consume. It can range from no meat at all to only meat and nothing else. However, for the average person, we consume around 274 pounds of meat every year, regardless of what others think we should be doing.
One of the benefits of cutting meat out of one meal is the automatic replacement of more vegetables. Eating more vegetables and plant-based foods can help reduce the risk of diabetes and keep your heart going strong for years to come.
Another benefit of cutting meat out once a week is the added grocery savings. Everyone is looking for ways to save on their grocery bills as the cost of food (especially food staples such as milk, eggs, bread, and cheese) continues to rise. Cutting meat out once a week is a way to help keep those costs down, as meat is often the most expensive portion of the meal.
Finally, a benefit not many people think about is the idea that cutting meat out once a week forces you to think outside the box when it comes to cooking and meals. When you are excluding one of the main components of your regular meals, it requires creativity to fill that void. Not only are you required to try new recipes, those recipes often also require new skills as well.
But how do I make a meal satisfying without meat?
We’re so glad you asked!
Instead of thinking about what you’re taking away, shift your mindset to what you could be adding. One of the biggest ways people replace meat and keep the satisfaction is by adding something substantial into their meal. By “substantial” we are talking about a hearty ingredient like pasta, potatoes, or rice.
Now, before you freak out, remember these high-starch and carbohydrate items we’ve been told to stay away from for years are not actually bad for you! Carbohydrates are your body’s favorite form of energy to use. When you add in pasta, potatoes, or rice, you are adding a hearty, fulfilling element to your meal. This will help take care of your body’s desire to have a real meal that feels satisfying. Adding these items to a salad or stir fry can have a remarkable impact on how satisfied you feel after the meal.
Another option for making a meatless meal more satisfying is adding more vegetables to take up that space.
Ever noticed how if you have something liquid for a meal (a meal replacement shake, broth soup, etc.), your body doesn’t feel quite satisfied? You’re full, but you still feel like you need to eat something. That’s because your brain includes chewing as part of the eating process. We know that sounds like a “duh” fact, but when you take the chewing piece out of the equation, your brain doesn’t feel like it’s truly eaten a meal. Adding more veggies to your meal, which typically require more chewing, can help your brain feel satisfied, even when you exclude meat.
Finally, adding nuts and seeds to your meals can help you feel more satisfied without the meat by adding a little crunch and replacing that missing protein element. True, adding nuts to every meatless dish you cook may not be an option, but sometimes adding nuts when they’re not expected can be a great way to keep a dish interesting and add new flavors and textures.
Help me try this!
Just as always, we’re here will help and suggestions for your to try these tips in your own kitchen!
This recipe for Smokey Truffle Spinach Ravioli is perfect for testing how robust pasta can help you not even miss the meat. Try it for yourself!
Add a few nuts to this Mediterranean Salad (or Lent Salad) for an extra crunch and some added veggies. Try this recipe here!
Finally, this enchilada recipe can help you feel satisfied by providing all the protein, fat, and carbohydrates you need to feel satisfied for hours to come. The recipe can be found right here.
Do you have a favorite meatless meal or any meatless tips you love to use? Let us know on social media! We’d love to hear from you!