Mighty Meat-Free Meals

Focus on veggies and other proteins this summer

If you're thinking about eating less meat, it doesn't have to be a dramatic change all at once. There are many options to get the protein your body needs while improving your health. You can start slowly and add one meat-free meal a week to your diet.

Get the protein you need

Protein helps build and repair muscles, but some protein sources, including a variety of meats, contain saturated fats. These high-fat meats are not the only source of protein. Beans and other plant products such as vegetables and soy are also key sources of protein. These video recipes feature non-meat proteins that could improve your cholesterol and heart health:

Pinto Bean Burritos: Pinto beans are filling and high in protein. Watch the video below to learn how to make these tasty burritos in less than 20 minutes. 

Quinoa Bean Bowl: Quinoa is a whole grain and a plant-based protein that does not have cholesterol. Watch on YouTube to make a quinoa bean bowl.

Variety boosts your immunity

Protein is not the only nutrient your body needs. Some nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin C help boost your immune system. Get more of these vitamins by using a variety of fruits and vegetables. Check out video recipes like these:

Thai Veggie Peanut Noodles: This dish uses carrots that are high in vitamin A. Watch the video below to try this tasty recipe. 

Marinated Tomatoes and Cucumbers: This side dish contains a lot of vitamin C from the tomatoes. Watch on YouTube to make your own marinated tomatoes and cucumbers.

Flavor meals with healthy fats

The word 'fat' can sound like a bad thing, but not all fats are bad for you. Some foods have healthy unsaturated fats that are good for your heart and improve your cholesterol. Watch these video recipes with avocado or olive oil that contain healthy fats:

Pesto Veggie Wrap: These easy-to-make wraps contain healthy fats from avocado, walnuts, and olive oil. Watch the video below to see how to make your own in only 10 minutes.

Zucchini Ribbons with Avocado Pesto: Try another delicious pesto dish, loaded with flavor and heart-healthy fats. Watch the video on YouTube to make zucchini ribbons with avocado pesto.

Finding alternatives

If cooking isn't something you enjoy, you can choose options without meat when you order out. Look for items on menus that include veggies, beans, and healthy fats. You could even try options like a veggie burger, salads that use beans for protein, or other vegetable-based healthy food choices.

When you're deciding what to have for dinner, remember that choosing various fruits, vegetables, and meat alternatives is important to your health. But you don't have to give up meat for every meal. Instead, you may improve your health by simply adding some variety to the protein sources in your meals and choosing one meatless option a week.

Track what you eat with a food journal to see if you notice a difference when you start incorporating meatless meals.

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