Why Eating Less meat can help your health
According to the USDA, in 2000, Americans consumed an average 57 pounds more meat than they did annually in the 1950's. Most Americans today consume 2-3 times their protein needs daily.
In addition to meat, protein is found in many foods such as dairy, eggs, vegetables, legumes, and grains. Whole grains have more protein than refined grains. A diet rich in these items can easily meet protein needs.
Incorporating meat free meals into your diet can be beneficial to your health. You do not need to become a vegetarian and remove all meat from your diet. Just a few meatless meals a week can make a difference in disease risk. The following are just a few of the many health benefits to reducing meat in your diet:
Reduces cancer risk – several studies have shown that vegetarians have considerably lower cancer risk than non-vegetarians. Vegetarian meals are generally higher in phytochemicals that have anti cancer effects.
Reduces risk of heart disease – reducing animal protein in the diet reduces the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol which is linked to heart disease.
Helps with weight management – meat contains more calories than their meatless protein alternatives. Plant based foods contain more fiber and more water allowing for a longer feeling of satiety.
Aids digestion – plant based foods are higher in fiber which helps with digestion.
Here are some ideas to easily add meatless meals to your diet:
· High protein cereal with fruit and low fat milk or soy milk
· Greek yogurt with granola and fruit
· Oatmeal with fruit
· Whole grain English muffin with peanut butter
· Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some carrot sticks
· Salad with light dressing and beans
· Grilled cheese sandwich and a side salad
· Lentil soup and side salad
· Rice and beans
· Vegetarian stuffed peppers
· Tofu with sauteed vegetables over whole grain rice
· Baked ziti with whole grain pasta, tomato sauce and low fat cheese