Photo by Daisy Dolan

Meatless Monday – it’s not a crusade to covert you to vegetarianism, however there are environmental and health benefits to giving up your carnivorous cravings once a week. Raising livestock utilizes one-third of the world’s fresh water supply and is one of the largest contributors to soil degradation. Producing livestock also accounts for a great deal of runoff and pollution, including between 7-18% of global methane emissions from human-related activities. A great deal of livestock is also raised in controlled animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, and are managed in a way that is often unethical and unsuitable for the workers and animals involved. If you don’t believe me then check out Food Inc. for a more graphic representation.

If I can’t appeal to your environmental ethos, I’m sure I can make an argument for your waist line. Animal proteins are complete and will provide you will all the necessary nutrients, but they also tend to be high in fat. For example, a 6 ounces steak contains 12 grams of saturated fat and 268 grams of cholesterol. Consuming high-fat animal proteins on a regular basis may lead to increased weight gain as well as increased risk of atherosclerosis, or heart disease. If you’ve taken Nutrition, Health and Society you know that meat should take up less than a quarter of your plate and its a good idea to obtain protein through complementary foods. When you combine foods such as grains and legumes, your body more readily absorbs the nutrients you need.

You won’t catch me waxing poetic about the culinary significance of tofu and I happen to think that products such as seitan are border-line satanic, but I do believe that it is highly possible to develop dishes sans meat that are actually appetizing. Here are some great ways to delete meat from your Monday menu:

Cauliflower Steak

Cauliflower Steak

Photo by Lauren Kaplan

Check out the Bon Appètit version here 

Summer Salad


Photo by Casey Carr

Find the recipe here

Roasted Red Pepper & Arugula Pizza


Photo by Lauren Kaplan

Learn how to  make dough here

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

gnocchi plated 4

Photo by Lauren Kaplan

Learn how to make your own hand-crafted gnocchi here

More good stuff here:

Photo by Laura Palladino

A meatless diet often lacks a vital macronutrient: protein. To get enough protein to sustain a healthy diet, add these meatless foods to your favorite meals.


meatless meals

Photo by Laura Palladino

Soy milk, tofu, tempeh and many other soy products contain protein. Soy protein options are a popular pick among vegetarians because they often pick up the flavor of whatever they are cooked with. Add tofu to your pasta or soy milk in your morning cereal for a delicious additional protein source.

Greek Yogurt

meatless meals

Photo by Laura Palladino

As apposed to regular yogurt, greek yogurt has almost double the protein. This creamy and delicious food is so low in calories that it makes the perfect healthy treat. Mix cinnamon and fruit into plain greek yogurt for a protein packed snack.


Beans are not only full of vitamins and nutrients, they also contain quite a lot of protein. They are a great addition to any meal and are filled with fiber which will keep you full.

Nuts & Nut Butters

meatless meals

Photo by Aly Forman

Nuts contain a great amount of protein. By adding some form of nut to your diet, you’ll get both healthy fats and muscle building protein. Try adding peanut butter to your oatmeal or nuts to your salad for some extra protein.

Any of these foods are sure to give you the protein needed to maintain a healthy diet. Be creative and add these to your favorite vegetarian meals to pack in the important macronutrient.

Check out more awesome articles:
Meatless Mondays: Arugula, Brie and Mushroom Pasta
Meatless Mondays: Homemade Veggie Chorizo
Meatless Mondays: Apple Chickpea Hash


Health is hard.