Did you know that in addition to the health benefits of cutting back on meat, eating vegetarian more often is also a cheaper way to put wholesome meals on the table? That’s because meat tends to be more expensive than vegetables, grains and beans – and also generally has a lot more fat and calories too. National Vegetarian Week, celebrated May 16 – 22, is a great time to consider cutting back on meat, and trying some of the wonderful vegetarian recipes and snack options available today.
Vegetarian versus vegan
A vegetarian diet is one that includes fruit, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts. You may have also heard the term “vegan,” which refers to vegetarians who not only exclude meat from their diets, but also avoid eggs and dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients (like desserts or candies made with gelatin, which is made from animal by-products).
Why go meatless?
According to the Mayo Clinic, vegetarians generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who regularly eat meat.1 In fact, just eating less meat can help improve your heath. A National Cancer Institute study showed that those who ate the most red meat daily were 30% more likely to die of any cause during a 10-year period than those who ate the least amount of red meat. And in case you think ham and bacon are okay since they’re not red meat, sausage, luncheon meats, and other processed meats also increased the risk of death.2
Give veg a try
If you’re worried that picky eaters and meat lovers will balk at the idea of cutting back on (or cutting out) meat, just don’t emphasize the missing meat in the vegetarian meals you make. In fact, don’t even point it out. A bowl full of fragrant and delicious Lemon Parmesan Linguine or a zesty plate piled with Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce should distract them from the lack of meat and silence your critics.
Eating vegetarian doesn’t mean eating salads for every meal. Do some research online or visit your local library and pour through the cookbook section to find meatless recipes that you think your family will enjoy – then go on and give it at try; go meatless for a week!
Check out these fantastic vegetarian recipes to get you started:
- Cooking Light’s 25 best vegetarian recipes
- Canadian Living’s 101 vegetarian recipes, including salads, breakfast and brunch, soups, lunch, appetizers and snacks, and main courses
- Simply Recipe’s 16 pages of mouth-watering vegetarian recipes
Even if you end up going meatless just once or twice a week, you may still find yourself saving a little money while you serve your family healthy meals they are sure to love. To read more about the benefits of eating less meat, visit Medibank.
413718I CAN/US (05/16)