Happy Good Friday! And happy “no meat day” for those avoiding “flesh meat” on Fridays during Lent. Lots of us cringe or roll our eyes at the thought of a day without meat, but don’t worry: here are some tasty, filling, meat-free meal ideas! Limiting meats is something to consider year-round; BUT, Lent is a great “excuse” to try new ideas and prove that: “yes, I can survive a day without meat” (and still feel satisfied)!
1. Classic bowl of cereal!: Choose high fiber cereal (at least 3 grams per serving), pay attention to portion sizes (our cereal bowls seem to keep getting bigger and bigger), and choose low-fat milk options (skim, almond, soy, etc).
2. Fresh fruit with cottage cheese: 1 cup, or a piece of fruit the size of a baseball with lower fat dairy has the protein and fiber needed in a meal and limits fat.
3: Whole wheat pancakes: Whole grains have both fiber and protein, so we don’t need to add protein. Or, add ground flax-seed or whole chia seeds to batter for more protein and fiber. Be careful with condiments: butter and syrup add a lot of Calories. Consider sugar-free syrup, or peanut butter for more flavor and protein.
4. Eggs are allowed during Lent, so we can always resort to that!: All-American 2 eggs with 1 or 2 pieces of whole wheat toast. A slice of tomato, spinach, onions, etc. make a colorful breakfast sandwich/omelet and adds veggies we don’t usually see at breakfast…no bacon needed!
1. Tuna salad on whole wheat bread, whole wheat crackers, or celery sticks: Fish is allowed during Lent, and provides heart-healthy Omega-3s! Be careful with mayo: it can be high in Calories and fat. 4 ounces, or 1/4 of a cup of tuna salad has enough protein for lunch.
2. Grilled cheese, or tomato and cheese, or mushroom and cheese: Use flavorful cheese, and you won’t need as much to get the flavor you want! Use 1 or 2 slices of cheese and choose whole wheat bread for fiber.
3. Tomato sandwich with mayo!(For those who remember Harriet The Spy): But, instead of the mayo, try humus! It is high in protein, adds flavor, and has less fat.
4. Create a salad: use walnuts, sunflower seeds, beans, and/or corn for meat-less protein plus fiber, along with your favorite veggies! Be careful with the dressing: these Calories add up fast.
1. Baked or grilled fish: Replace meats with fish in almost any of your favorite recipes!
2. Eggplant parmesan: Use your favorite tomato sauce (even better if it’s homemade!), whole wheat pasta, and a little cheese, and you won’t even miss the chicken or veal!
3. Vegetarian chili: since Mother Nature has forgotten that Easter happens in SPRING, a bowl of chili sounds comforting! Use various types of beans instead of ground meat for protein with less fat and more fiber.
4. Stuffed peppers: use quinoa or brown rice for fiber and lots of vegetables and beans for fiber and protein.
Now, I am no chef; but, I am pretty good at following directions, so here are some of my favorite recipe sites:
For meat-less recipes, check out: http://www.cookinglight.com/food/vegetarian/vegetarian-meals-00412000083741/page103.html
For fish: http://www.bhg.com/recipes/fish/30-minutes-less/20-quick-easy-seafood-recipes/
There is plenty of research telling us that saturated (animal) fat has harmful effects on the body. Many of us think that carbohydrates are the biggest concern when managing diabetes; but, a recent study shows that people who eat more animal protein have a 22% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who eat less animal fat.
Talking about meatless meals always reminds me of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”: “WHAT, he no eat no meat?!…Oh, that’s ok, I make lamb”! Many of us have this same reaction when someone tells us that they are a vegetarian or avoid red meats, but be open-minded! If you can do it one day per week during Lent, why not one day per week all year?!