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Marching into Meatless March

Wooden tray of small bowls filled with plant-based proteins; lentils, nuts, beans, soy nuts, quinoa, oats

It’s March again and Meatless March is back! The month of March has become a popular time to start incorporating meatless and plant-based meals into your day. Eating plant-based has become an increasingly popular and modern trend. With spring in the air, this March may be a great time for you to get a fresh start on eating and preparing plant-based, meatless meals.

Meaning Behind Going Meatless

There are many reasons people choose to go meatless for the month of March, one of the biggest is the health benefits associated with eating less meat. A diet high in plant-based foods is typically low in calories and saturated fat and rich in many essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, those who follow a plant-based diet have a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Plant-based meals may also aid in weight maintenance as they are more filling (being higher in fiber) while being lower in calories.

People also chose to eat meatless because it is better for the environment. The production of meat puts quite the strain on our planet. Replacing meat with plant-based options reduces carbon and other greenhouse gases produced by meat production, which may be damaging to our environment. Additionally, it takes less water to produce plant-based foods compared to meat. Think about the impact you can have by making meatless meals!

Making the Switch

It might seem overwhelming to completely switch to a meatless diet. It can be helpful to start with having just two meals a week that are meatless. To get started here are a few tips:

  • Make easy substitutes from familiar recipes. If a recipe calls for meat try a meat substitute in its place. For example, making crispy tofu can mimic breaded chicken. Substituting beans for meat is another option.

  • Season, season, season! When making a plant-based dish, season the vegetables as you would a dish with meat. Use the same spices, herbs and marinades that you would in cooking meat to season and flavor vegetables.

Protein Preoccupation

Many people worry about not being able to get enough protein in their diet when switching over to meatless or plant-based eating. The good news is plant-based options such as beans, nuts, soy, seeds and dairy choices will have enough protein to meet your needs! By planning out a plant-based diet, all nutrient needs can be met.

  • 1 cup of beans has as much protein as a serving of chicken

  • 1 cup of soybeans has more protein than a turkey burger

  • 1 ounce of peanut butter has the same amount of protein as 1 ounce of meat

By incorporating some of these tips you will be off and running with your meatless March. Even if you decide 100% plant-based eating isn’t for you, you will have a new knowledge on the benefits of meatless meals and how to create a hardy and nutritious plant-based meal. Plus, even just incorporating a few more meatless meals into your routine (try "meatless Mondays!") can help make an impact on your health and the environment.

Learn more about plant-based eating and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.

Written by Dana Arburr, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern




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