Eat Right, Live Well
We have been hearing a lot in the media recently about the benefits of eating less meat and more plant-based foods. It’s better for our health; it’s better for the planet, it’s better for the animals. We know that eating less meat is good for many reasons, but are we reducing our meat intake? For those that love meat but want to be mindful of their consumption, supermarkets and restaurants can be a tough place to navigate. According to the CDC, pollutants from factory farms can have a negative impact on humans and animals.
LESS MEAT, BETTER MEAT
To improve animal welfare, reduce our carbon footprint and improve our health, we as eaters must vote with our forks. We should all be eating less but higher quality meat. To do so, we need to seek out animal proteins that have a higher standard of welfare. Finding a local supplier that you can develop a relationship with is great but perhaps not possible for everyone. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with food labels. Look for labels with a defined set of publicly available animal care standards that are third-party verified. In the café, look for dishes that blend meat with other ingredients like a mushroom blended burger.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Another way to reduce your meat intake is to take a break from it for a meal or two throughout the week. Customize this to fit your lifestyle. Pick a night of the week to make a meatless meal. Others might prefer to skip meat at breakfast and lunch and have a small amount of animal protein at dinner. Registered Dietitian EHM in Saline, Anne Smirawoski, recommends a meatless meal can still be rich in protein. Plant-based sources of protein include beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, quinoa, and tofu. Here are a few recommendations:
- Consider swapping ground beef in tacos for cooked, seasoned lentils
- Serve a vegetable and tofu stir-fry on a bed of quinoa instead of rice
- Add roasted chickpeas or toasted almond to an entrée salad