More Veggies...Better for you and for the planet

By cutting out meat at least once a week, you can improve your health and the health of the planet. In association with The Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, Meatless Monday of The Monday Campaign teaches, encourages and provides healthy recipes so that Americans can make healthier decisions which start on Monday. According to The Monday Campaign, Monday is the perfect day to make small positive changes, by committing to one meat-free meal a week.

Going meatless doesn’t have to be difficult and while you might think you can only eat salad, the options are endless. Don’t let this overwhelm you as you explore adding raw fruits and vegetables to each meal. Start slowly and small. At first try adding more veggies and fruits to your meals, gradually making meat portions smaller. Pick any day and start here. Once you get excited about it, you can then add more meatless meals into your schedule.

Cooking vegetarian is not an all or nothing decision. Keep it simple.

The American Heart Association is a great resource suggesting that we move vegetables and fruits from supporting player to starring role. Seeking out high-fiber whole grains, legumes, unsalted nuts and lower fat and fat-free dairy foods tend to be high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. And people who eat less meat tend to consume fewer calories.

Health benefits might be a reason for you to try Meatless Monday or Fish Wednesday. Studies indicate that when we eat more vegetable based meals, we can lower rates of obesity, dementia, arthritis, high blood pressure, and other serious medical conditions. Reducing meat can lead to improving health overall and preventing disease.

Here a suggestions to incorporate meatless meals into your lifestyle.

Re-create favorites and make them healthier. Try a salmon burger or a mushroom taco complete with Greek yogurt and guacamole. In addition, going meatless can be as simple as removing meat from your favorite dishes and replacing with a vegetarian substitute. Remember to use spices-seasoning will make any meal more delicious and condiments such as pesto, salsa, hummus, harissa, tapenade used liberally can change any meal.

Use an avocado on sandwiches instead of cheese or in smoothies. Roasted, baked and crisped veggies are delicious tossed with salt and pepper. Your freezer can be a treasure chest with frozen fruits, vegetables and plant-based burgers. Find favorite nut milk, and use coconut oil instead of butter. Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and bulgur offer variety and healthy alternatives.

Make sure your pantry has plant-based snacks like popcorn, nuts, dried fruit, healthy (low sugar) granola and dark chocolate. Mix pasta with vegetables and beans. Try corn meal based options such as polenta, polenta fries and cornbread.

This recipe comes from Cara Moon Schloss of Seedz Café and Provisions where “food is love”. Cara said, “This is very close to our recipe that I have tried and loved.”

Veggie Burger

15oz Chickpeas

3-4 cloves garlic

1 roasted red pepper

2 Tablespoons Tahini

2 Tablespoons lemon Juice

Small handful chopped cilantro or parsley (your choice)

2 Cups Chickpea flour

Add small amount of water if mixture is too stiff

Yield 4-6 Burgers

To Food Processor add Beans, Garlic, Roasted Red Pepper, Tahini, Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper to taste.  Pulse until almost smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add Chickpea Flour 1/2 cup at a time until patty consistency is reached.  Mix in chopped herbs. Form Patties

Cook as desired. Fry in oil 3-6mins each side or until crispy or bake 350 for 15-20 mins per side until firm.

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