As a family, we have decided to follow in the footsteps of the children’s school which has been following a meat free Monday campaign for years. We thought this would be a great idea to increase our fruit and vegetable intake to improve our personal health as well as make a meaningful change in our quest to be more eco-friendly. The most important thing for us was that our meat-free meals were just as delicious as our regular meals.
In recent years, there has been a growing awareness of the impact of meat consumption on the environment and our health. Meat production is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions, and the consumption of animal products, red meat and processed meats has been linked to a range of health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. With leading chefs such as Giorgio Locatelli and Yotam Ottolenghi advocating meatless meals, it’s never been easier to try vegetarian and vegan meals.
What are the benefits of Meat Free Mondays?
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
This will have a positive environmental impact by helping to slow climate change. Meat production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. By reducing meat consumption, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint and help mitigate the effects of climate change.
One simple way to reduce our impact on the environment and improve our health is to adopt a plant-based diet or ease the whole family into that by incorporating a “Meat Free Monday” routine. Meat Free Monday is a global not-for-profit campaign whose global ambassador is none other than Mary Mccartney (daughter of Beatle Paul Mccartney and arguably the most famous of all vegetarians, Linda Mccartney) that encourages people to avoid meat one day a week and choose plant-based options instead.
“Food systems contribute 21% to 37% of global greenhouse gases and are significant contributors to deforestation, biodiversity loss and declining water tables. Perhaps the biggest problem: livestock. They use a third of global cropland and contribute 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions”
Increased Health Benefits
Studies have shown that a diet rich in plant-based foods can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Plant-based foods are also rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for overall health and well-being This was another reason we wanted to increase our family’s intake of fruit and vegetables, due to the effects of chemo, the Dinosaur barely eats any fruit or veg so we are always on the lookout for creative ways to incorporate them into his safe foods.
With the continuing cost of living crisis, more and more people are trying to save money wherever they can. Meat is often one of the most expensive items on our grocery bill so by choosing plant-based options instead, we can save money and still enjoy delicious and nutritious meals. For days when you are eating meat, you could replace some of the meat with plant-based alternatives to bulk the meal out and further reduce your meat consumption.
Trying New Foods
Adopting a Meat Free Monday routine can be a great opportunity to try new foods and experiment with new recipes. There are countless plant-based options available that are both tasty and nutritious.
Emma Reed Writes, my favourite eco and sustainable blogger and Glomama Award Finalist in 2023, has outlined even more reasons to consider making the swap to meat free.
Here are some tips for making Meat-Free Mondays a success:
Plan Your Meals
Meal plans are a great way of getting organised ahead of time and can help you stay on track and ensure that you have all the ingredients you need, you could even start to build up a stock of vegan store cupboard essentials as recommended by Sunshine Sarah. Look for inspiration for your weekly menus in vegetarian cookbooks, blogs, websites or even a meat-free Monday cookbook.
If you’re new to plant-based eating, start with simple meals that are familiar and easy to prepare. For example, try a bean chilli, vegetable stir-fry, lentil soup or new ways to swap your favourite meals by adding plant-based food such as swapping chicken nuggets for veggie burgers
Experiment with new flavours and ingredients to keep things interesting. Try incorporating different types of grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes into your meals. Have a go at veggifying your favourite meaty meals. You could even use the seasons to help inspire you: vibrant spring soups, inventive summer salads, appetising autumn bakes or comforting winter stews.
Join a Meat Free Monday community or group to connect with others who are also trying to reduce their meat consumption. You can share tips and recipes while supporting each other along the way.
Introducing meatless Monday recipes:
I’ve scoured the internet as well as my own recipe bank to create a starter list of vegan and vegetarian recipes to get you started on your meat free Monday journey. Thanks to my blogger buddies who have provided links for me to include.
- Meat-free sausage and bean casserole (recipe from lifeloving.co.uk)
- Roasted vegetable pasta bake
- Barbecue jackfruit and pickled walnut wraps (recipe from midwifeandlife.com)
- Bell peppers stuffed with white rice, sweet corn and plant protein
- Vegetarian sausage rolls (recipe from envirolineblog.com)
- Macaroni cheese
- Cheese and tomato gnocchi (recipe from talesofbelle.com)
- Stir fry
- Plantain and edamame rice bowl (recipe from mychefsapron.com)
- Roasted sweet potato with feta cheese and chilli
- Homemade pesto and pasta (recipe from mammaprada.com)
- Lentil Spaghetti Bolognese
- Chilli cheese toast (recipe from Vegan etc.)
- Vegetable gratin
- Mushroom korma (recipe from thegrumpyolive.com)
- Veggie burgers
- Moroccan spiced cous cous salad (recipe from mygoodfoodworld.com)
In conclusion, adopting a Meat Free Monday routine is a simple and effective way to reduce our impact on the environment and improve our health simply by eating less meat. With a little planning and creativity, you can enjoy delicious and nutritious plant-based meals that are good for you and good for the planet