Meatless Mondays

In our Thursday "Ask A Health Expert" post on our Facebook page, one of our readers wrote:
I like the idea behind Meatless Mondays but I hate fish. Are there options that won't leave me starving?
Our nutrition expert Amy responded:
If going meatless, focus on fat sources and alternative protein. Let's talk fat today: cook your vegetables in a generous portion of ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil; drizzle olive oil over salad and top with nuts, seeds, avocado and olives. Fat is a satisfying (and necessary) source of nutrition to help fill you up!

Eggs are also a great option: packing both a fatty and protein punch. Plus eggs are a rich source of B vitamins, biotin, folic acid and choline. I call them, nature's multivitamin!
So what is Meatless Monday, anyway? It is a movement to simply go one day a week without meat. The reasons proponents list vary, but here are the high notes:
  • For your physical health: It may reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and even some cancers.
  • For your financial health: Let's face it: a good steak can run you $30 at the butcher. A good serving of eggs? About a buck. Additionally, the costs to our healthcare system from people suffering from the physical problems above can be factored into the financial savings.
  • For your planet's health: There's no denying it: raising a living being takes exponentially more space, water, and resources than raising a plant.
So whether your reason for trying Meatless Mondays is one of the above, or another reason entirely, how do you go about crafting a great meatless meal?
    1. Substitute Mushrooms. These fungi are surprisingly filling! Grill a portobello mushroom cap on the barbecue as a great substitute for a hamburger. You can put it in a bun with the usual condiments, or you can cut it up in a salad with grilled zucchini, grilled yellow summer squash, grilled red peppers, and grilled onions. Add some health fats in the form of a homemade olive-oil-and-lemon salad dressing, and you're sure to be satisfied.
    2. Substitute Beans. Not the canned kind swimming in sugar and tomatoes! Experiment with soy beans, lentils, kidney beans or navy beans. It's easy to find a filling Mexican Soup recipe, or even easier to pick up a bag of edamame at the grocery store. Steam them for 4 minutes, sprinkle with lemon juice and sea salt, and enjoy! Filling and delicious.
    3. Experiment with grains and noodles. Quinoa and buckwheat soba noodles are two that are very flavour-friendly and easy to find in most grocery stores.
Like most things in life, attitude is everything. If you look at this as a great way to get some zen time in in the kitchen while rediscovering your secret knack for great flavour combinations and beautiful plate presentations, Meatless Mondays can turn into your favourite night of the week!

Have you tried any great Meatless Monday recipes? Share in the comments below!
Image courtesy of MeatlessMonday.com. See the recipe for the Green Buddha Bowl at http://www.meatlessmonday.com/recipes/green-buddha-bowl-with-spinach-and-asparagus/