Last week a friend an I were on a long run, and got to talking about healthy eating. It turns out that there’s a lot of evidence that humans are healthiest when we eat little meat and mostly plants. As Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” My friend has been thinking more about how to cut meat down in the diet of her family, and this is something that I have been working on for the past year or two, so I thought I’d share some meal ideas.
A recent one for us is fried rice. I know, it sounds unhealthy, but it isn’t too bad. First I scramble two or three omega-3 eggs with a little lite soy sauce. Then I sautee some mushrooms, snow peas or whatever I feel like adding in while also nuking a bag of mixed veggies. I often use the SteamFresh “Asian medly” because it has a little seasoning. I normally don’t like to buy frozen vegetables with a sauce, but I figure this sauce is going to flavor the whole dish, so why not? When the veggies are all cooked, I throw them in the wok with about 2 cups cold left-over brown rice, heat the rice through, then sprinkle a little more soy sauce on top. The whole meal takes less than 10 minutes to fix, it’s tasty, and as my husband says, “this will be good for lunches.” It’s also good with some edamame thrown in to up the protein content.
Other meatless meals we like are Crustless quiche (from Simply in Season– a wonderful cookbook), beans and rice burritos (without the tortilla is good too) and chili sans meat. I also like to cut down on the amount of meat I put in some dishes. I find that I can make a big pot of spaghetti with 1/2 pound of ground beef rather than a full pound, and I honestly don’t notice the difference. I like to make chicken curry using 1/2 pound of chicken and about 1 cup of chickpeas for the protein source. When I’m eating out, I really like red curry made with tofu, but I haven’t gotten my husband to be quite that adventurous yet. Most of these meals are pretty heavy on the starches, so adding non-starchy vegetables in the mix, or just having a small serving of the main dish along with a salad would be a good way to increase your vegetable intake as well as decrease your calorie intake. Basically, you want about half of your plate to be vegetables.
What are your favorite meatless or low-meat meals?