Being thrifty is just one of the many reasons to start your own Meatless Monday tradition with your family. Besides saving you money at the grocery or restaurant, going meatless once a week may have the beneficial side effects of reducing your risk of preventable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Additionally, going meatless for a day can reduce your carbon footprint and can contribute to saving resources like water and fossil fuel. For example, the Why Meatless? page of the Meatless Monday website reports that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef verses 220 gallons for one pound of soy.
While the term Meatless Monday has its roots in World War I, the current public awareness campaign was started in 2003, in association with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future, as a part of the Healthy Monday initiative. Healthy Monday inspires people to make wiser health choices at the start of each week.
If you choose to embrace the Meatless Monday idea, you will be in good company. Meatless Monday has gained the support of many in the entertainment arena, including Oprah Winfrey, Sir Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Bob Harper of the Biggest Loser and Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. To follow their lead, create menus of dishes that center around vegetarian options. Choosing wholesome, whole food ingredients will give your wallet a little break. For a fresh new way to answer the question “What’s for dinner?”, think lentils, beans, rice, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, with a smattering of fresh herbs like cilantro, oregano or thyme. Here is a link to an Eating Well web page with many recipes for inexpensive vegetarian dinners that cost $3.00 or less per serving . With choices like creamy avocado and white bean wrap and bean burgers with spicy guacamole maybe Mondays will become the new fun food night that even the kids will like.