There are plenty of reasons to reduce the amount of meat you consume or even eliminate it from your diet entirely. An estimated 14.5 percent of the carbon dioxide humans produce every year comes from animal agriculture, which is just one-way meat consumption that contributes to climate change and environmental degradation. Meat is expensive, so eating less of it will lower your grocery bill. Some studies have indicated that eating red meat and poultry has the potential to increase your risk of cardiovascular health problems as well.
So, why are we still eating meat? Some of it is cultural. The United States has long been known as the land of opportunity, but these days that mostly refers to your odds of finding something bacon-wrapped or a burger joint in the middle of nowhere. The rest of it comes down to nutrition. Human beings require a significant amount of energy to function properly, and meat is a convenient way to acquire that energy. It’s high in protein, iron, amino acids, and vitamin B12, among other essential nutrients. When you aren’t eating meat, it can be challenging to get the right balance of nutrients in your diet. If you’re looking for ways to boost your meals’ protein content without eating meat, check out these five great recipes.
Easy Vegan Ramen
Meals don’t get much easier than a packet of noodles that costs about a quarter and takes three minutes to make, but they certainly get both healthier and more appetizing, as evidenced by this easy vegan ramen recipe. Healthy ingredients in this recipe include yellow onion, garlic, and ginger, as well as carrots and bok choy, which are listed as optional. The recipe lists tofu as an optional topping too, but if you want the full protein boost, you need to include it. There are an estimated 10 grams of protein per half cup of tofu, which comes from soybeans. U.S. soy production is the second-highest worldwide, so the chances are good that you’re supporting American farmers as well as a healthy diet for yourself and your family.
Easy Vegetarian Huevos Rancheros
Easy Vegetarian Huevos Rancheros
Your meal options expand when you include eggs and dairy products. Both are vegetarian but not vegan. However, some people are allergic to eggs or lactose intolerant. That makes following a vegetarian diet difficult. While this easy vegetarian huevos rancheros recipe features both eggs and cheese, you can substitute tofu and nutritional yeast for the eggs and either leave out the cheese and sour cream or use a non-dairy alternative. One large egg contains roughly six grams of protein, slightly more than a comparable amount of tofu. This recipe includes red bell pepper, onion, garlic, and avocado for an added healthy boost. For more ideas visit: medicalisland.
Rainbow Vegetarian Pad Thai
You’ve probably seen or read something about “eating the rainbow” to get a balanced diet. That idea is perfectly encapsulated by this rainbow vegetarian pad thai recipe. The recipe recommends zucchini, red bell pepper, and yellow onion, but you can use any vegetables you have in your fridge. There are vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for this dish, depending on what type of broth you use and whether you use a fish sauce substitute. The amount of protein you get per serving from this pad thai recipe will be around seven grams if you follow the recipe as is. You can boost that number by adding tofu, edamame, or vegetables that contain more protein than average. Asparagus and broccoli are both excellent options.
Tofu and Black Bean Tacos
While tofu tends to be the star of many high-protein vegetarian recipes due to its versatility—it tends to adapt whatever flavor profile you apply to it—black beans are the unsung heroes of many meatless dishes. That becomes quickly apparent when you look at the nutrition information for this tofu and black bean taco recipe. Each serving contains an impressive 31 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. For added vitamins and minerals, you can add whatever type of vegetable toppings you would like. The recipe calculates the number of calories per serving as being slightly less than 800, which might cause you to balk. However, protein helps you feel full for longer, so you’re less likely to snack after you’ve had one of these tacos. Besides, calories are a unit of measure for energy. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them. Also read.
Sun-Dried Tomato, Mushroom, and Spinach Tofu Quiche
If you’re looking for a recipe that’s a bit fancier and more involved, look no further than this sun-dried tomato, mushroom, and spinach tofu quiche. The spinach contributes to the meal’s iron content and, with five grams of fiber per serving, the quiche contributes to the health of your digestive system too. As with most of our recipes, protein comes in the form of tofu. However, this quiche has a protein-boosting secret. The crust contains an entire cup of ground almonds, which contribute essential micronutrients like manganese in addition to protein. The quiche serves eight people and offers 12 grams of protein per serving. It’s perfect for Sunday brunch or a breakfast-for-dinner situation.
Making long term dietary changes is never easy. However, if you ease into the lifestyle changes you would like to make, you’re increasing your chances of success. If you’re reading this article because your New Year’s resolution is to eat less meat or become a vegetarian, you should know that. That’s why so many resolutions fail—people try to do too much, too fast, and they don’t account for the fact that it takes time to build healthy habits.
Trying a few vegetarian recipes here and there to find meals you like, progressing to something like a meatless Monday tradition, and then switching to full-out vegetarianism will be much easier if that’s what you want to do. Strict vegetarianism is a commitment, so don’t beat yourself up or throw out all of your efforts because you were craving barbeque or greasy takeout one night. Every small change you make adds up, leaving you happier, healthier, and with less of a carbon footprint than you started with.