So what’s for dinner when you take meat off the menu? You have more options than you might think. A burger makeover could feature a grilled Portobello mushroom in place of a beef patty. Or fill a pot of chili with white beans and vegetables instead of ground chuck.
Going meatless has never been easier! Reducing animal protein can help you lower your cholesterol and may reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases. And unlike a strict vegetarian diet, mixing in some meatless meals won’t require you to give up your carnivorous ways. You can still eat lean meat – just less of it.
Many meatless meals are as simple as moving vegetables and fruits from a side dish to a main dish. You should also seek out high-fiber whole grains, beans and legumes, unsalted nuts and low-fat and fat-free dairy foods. These tend to be high in fiber, vitamins, minerals and other important phytonutrients.
An easy way to get started is to eat one meatless meal a week. A meatless diet is not only healthier, but inexpensive. Foods such as beans are one of the most cost-effective sources of protein available. Meat typically costs more per pound than other protein sources.
Other tips for helping meat lovers go meatless:
- Keep the refrigerator and pantry stocked with meatless alternatives, such as low-sodium canned beans, unsalted nuts, high-fiber whole grains and tofu.
- Buy a cookbook filled with recipes for meatless meals. “The New American Heart Association Cookbook” offers more than 50 pages of meat-free entrees. Pick out several recipes you’d like to try and add the ingredients to your grocery shopping list.
- Keep on hand a few convenient meatless foods you like, such as veggie burgers and vegetarian microwavable meals.
- Look to AHA diet and nutrition recommendations for setting heart healthy goals.