Several years ago, a group of public health schools backed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center created the Monday Campaigns, designed to kick-start the week with healthy behaviors. Among those behaviors: Making Monday a day to go meatless. By eliminating meat from your meals for just one day, you can cut down on excess fats and calories while benefitting the planet.
If you’re thinking that a meatless meal limits your cooking talents to broccoli and beans, it’s time to discover the pleasures of plant-based diets. Use this guide to savoring a meatless Monday at one or more meals:
- Breakfast: Do you normally eat sausage or ham to kick off your day? Cut the excess fat and calories on Monday mornings and add a healthy amount of protein and fiber by enjoying a whole grain cereal with a milk alternative and fresh fruit. For example, try Country Choice Organic Steel Cut Irish Style Oats served with White Wave Silk Very Vanilla Soymilk topped with blueberries.
- Mid-morning: You’re in a rush driving from a meeting at one end of town to a doctor’s appointment at the other ““ and your stomach is rumbling. Steer away from the drive-through and that egg ‘n’ bacon sandwich! Instead, keep delicious vegan energy bars in your purse or briefcase for emergencies. What can help you fuel even the most manic Monday? Try vegan, high protein Probars in flavors like peanut butter chocolate chip.
- Lunch: Attention, sandwich lovers! Going vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean having to say farewell to those two slices of bread wrapped around your midday meal. Make a momentous sandwich by taking one slice of your favorite bread (we love Ener-G Brown Rice Loaf), topping it with dark green lettuce, juicy tomato slices, a slice of red onion, a sprinkling of Frontier Bac’Uns Bacon Flavored Soy Bits, another layer of veggies and a slice of bread with a dab of Spectrum Naturals Eggless Mayonnaise. Serve with fresh fruit, such as sliced peaches, and you’ve got a lunch you’ll love!
- Mid-Afternoon: Power up with a protein shake to see you through that 3 p.m. energy sag. Try different varieties, such as Nature’s Plus Luscious Blue Fruit Vegetarian Fruitein ® Shake with Genisoy Chocolate Protein Powder.
- Dinner: Start with a bowl of soup, such as Amy’s Organic Lentil Vegetable Soup. A big bowl of brown rice topped with organic soy sauce, such as San-J Organic Reduced Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce and assorted fresh veggies, from green beans and mushrooms to zucchini, sautÃ©ed in Spectrum Naturals Organic Canola Oil, and you’ve got a fabulously filling and flavorful meal. For dessert, try a cup of Yogi Organic Herbal Chai mixed with unsweetened almond milk and Go Raw Organic Super Cookies in flavors like carrot cake.
Joanne Eglash, Vitacost.com’s Diet Diva, has a master of science in holistic nutrition and more than 15 years experience as a nutrition consultant, blogger, author and journalist. She has written for a wide range of publications and websites, including ediets.com,Natural Health magazine, Shape magazine, Success magazine, Energy for Women and Chefs. Joanne is currently the national Diets columnist for the online news and entertainment site, Examiner.com, and a features food columnist for Yahoo.