As college students, we’re all familiar with the Monday slump. Early mornings, long days of classes and a few greasy meals can quickly lead to exhaustion and irritability.
Luckily, there’s a fun alternative to switch things up and kick off the week with a healthy start: Meatless Mondays.
Going meat-free even once a week has great benefits for your health and that of the planet, and it doesn’t have to be boring or difficult. It can be achieved by simply removing the meat from your favorite dishes, replacing it with a vegetarian substitute or hopping on Pinterest to find something brand new. Plus, it’s only once a week.
While we know it’s Tuesday, we wanted to bring you five tips on how to make this Meatless Monday a success.
1. Spices are your friend
One reason people tend to like meat is because of the texture. Pulled BBQ pork sandwiches, steaks and meat minces offer textural variety to our favorite meals. However, it’s really the spices that make the flavors come together.
Ever tried making a “pulled pork” sandwich using jackfruit and BBQ sauce? How about seasoning sweet potatoes and black bean tacos the same way you’d season a chicken taco?
Seasoning your veggies the same way you’d do with meat gives you an equally tasty– and easy– meat substitute for your favorite meals.
2. Be creative with meat substitutes
Finding meat substitutes in a grocery store, especially now, is less daunting than it seems and can sometimes be significantly cheaper than the average package of meat.
Here are just a few examples of easy vegetarian meals to make that aren’t just salads:
- Pasta with vodka sauce, marinara, alfredo or any meatless sauce
- “Green” mac n’ cheese: Add any leafy green to ready-made mac and cheese for a nutrient-packed comfort food.
- Three-bean salad: Toss a few types of pre-soaked beans in a bowl with onion, vinegar, tomato, celery and herbs for a protein-filled meal.
And if you’re not able to cook, all dining halls on the University of Miami campus have vegetarian and vegan options. Next time you’re stopping by for lunch, take a detour from your usual station and see what meat-free options the dining halls have to offer.
3. Find meat alternatives
For those of you find it hard to part with meat, there are meat alternatives found in almost every major grocery store in Coral Gables.
Meat alternatives are designed to replicate the texture and taste of meat, and they’re made with 100% vegan or vegetarian products. Some well-known examples are “chick’n strips” made from soy protein or tofu and plant-based “meatless grounds.”
Some popular meat-alternative brands include “Morning Star,” “Beyond Meat” and “Gardein.” While these can get a bit pricey, they are worth it. And after all, Meatless mondays are only on Mondays.
4. Eat out? Eat well.
Eating out on Meatless Monday is just as easy as any other day. Most restaurants have vegetarian options, and some restaurants are exclusively vegetarian or vegan. Many restaurants charge high prices for their dishes containing meat, so your wallet will thank you for saying “no” to the chicken.
Another great perk is that many fast-food chains offer vegetarian options. Burger King, for example, now offers an “Impossible Whopper,” a grilled burger patty made entirely from plants that mirrors the taste and look of a standard beef burger.
Other fast-food chains such as Wendy’s, Chipotle, Taco Bell and Subway also have affordable vegetarian menu items.
5. Health Benefits
It goes without saying that there are many health benefits to eating less meat. Reducing your meat consumption even by one day per week, can improve heart-health and help maintain a healthy weight, and eating more vegetables packs more nutrients into your day and improves overall mood and performance.
Of course, it’d be the easy way out to grab a large cheese pizza for Meatless Monday and still have it count. However, there’s only 13 Mondays left in 2019, so why not give eating healthy another try? Meatless Mondays are easy to do, challenge your creativity and benefit the health of our planet.
For more resources on the benefits of eating more plants or insight on Meatless Mondays around the globe, visit https://www.meatlessmonday.com/.
Featured image source: farmfreshtoyou.com