The Meatless Monday movement is generating a lot of support, as it provides Americans with an easy way to remember to eat less meat.
According to Meatless Monday, Americans consume 8 ounces of meat per day—45% more than the USDA recommends, upping our risk for such conditions as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A vegetarian diet is low in saturated fat and vegetarians also tend to eat more vitamin B as well as folic acid, nutrients that help us live longer and better. A few things to keep in mind:
• If you’re eating vegetarian only one day a week you really don’t need to worry about protein, considering most of us eat more protein than we need.
• If you are a vegetarian, you can amp your protein with eggs (6 grams of protein per egg), milk (8 grams), beans and legumes. Keep in mind that a serving of protein need only be about the size of a deck of cards, or ¼ of your plate.
• Some vegetarian diets are low in iron, but they don’t need to be. You don’t need meat to make red blood cells. Here are the best plant food sources of iron (from Dr.Sears.com)
Milligrams of Iron
Tofu (1/2 cup) 7
Iron-fortified cereals (1 oz) 4-8
Cream of wheat (1/2 cup, cooked) 5
Blackstrap molasses (one tablespoon) 3.5
Pumpkin seeds (two tablespoons) 3
Lentils (1/2 cup, cooked) 3
Prune juice (8 oz) 3
Chick peas (1/2 cup, canned) 2
Swiss chard (1/2 cup) 2
Dried fruits: apricots, peaches (3 oz) 2
Beans: black, kidney (1/2 cup) 2
Tomato paste (2 oz) 2
Figs (5) 2
Jerusalem artichoke (1/2 cup, raw) 2