If you haven’t heard of the Meatless Monday initiative, here’s a super-speedy rundown: Meatless Monday was founded in 2003 with one goal in mind: encouraging meat eaters to embrace a meat-free diet for one day each week. Millions of people in over 40 countries participate in M.M. every year, the movement is backed in science and research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future.

Participants can be swayed to try Meatless Monday’s for a variety of reasons:

Environmental: One of the many heady environmental statistics: Meatless Monday followers could also save approximately 70 million gallons of gas—enough to fill up every car in Canada and Mexico, and then some. (Readers Digest)

Personal Health: Animal-based proteins found in meat are harder for our bodies to digest which can cause stomach pains after consumption. Many processed meats like bacon are filled with excess sodium which leads to stomach bloating. Following a Meatless Monday diet will give your stomach a break from stomach pain and bloating. (Spoon University)

Financial: Cutting pricey meats and cheeses out just one day a week in favour of lentils and legumes can save you some cash.

And lastly, with animal welfare in mind.

We hope that some of the following tips and pointers inspire and encourage you to give Meatless Monday a try for yourself this year!

The first (and arguably most important meal of the day) breakfast. Breakfast can be challenging for everyone (regardless of their diet). It’s easy to get into a toast, cereal, coffee and tea routine. That needn’t be the case! Why not take a little time and spice-up your morning meals? Meatless Monday is all about hitting refresh on your diet afterall.

Smoothies, pancakes and bowls are a simple place to start and you can easily prepare some of the components the night before.

Here are a few speedy (and delicious) suggestions:

Acai Date Smoothie
Pankcakes
Peanut Butter Jelly Acai Bowl

We’d suggest making quick and easy lunches in advance so that ever-busy lunchtimes are a breeze. Here are a few simple and nutritious meals that will tide you over ‘til dinner:

A Spring ChickPea Salad
Perfect Pesto – Boil up some pasta and add this pesto for an easy, portable snack.
Curried Mushroom & Hummus Toast – this one involves a little more work but it’ll be worth it!
This  Tomato Soup is not only nutritious and tasty, it’s nice and warming for those chilly winter days. You can make it in batches and freeze it, too.

If you enjoy cooking and you regularly have a carnivorous diet, you’ll find Meatless Monday’s will throw you some fun challenges your way with regard to reworking your dinnertime staples. Checkout local low-waste grocery stores like Grocery Outlet when it comes to picking up your supplies.

Here are a couple of top dishes that we hope find their way into your regular Dinner Time rotation:

Firstly, a super easy meal would be to pick up a pre-made sauce, cook-up some of your favourite veggies and boil up some pasta and voila! We want to shine a light on La Dee Da’s Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce: ‘Our creamy vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce is a healthy alternative to other cream sauces on the market.’ You can see more recipes and from the La Dee Da team here.

If you have a big family, dinnertime can be a fun affair with this simple recipe from Wholly Veggie:

Southwest Broccoli Nachos:

​STEP 1. Prepare our Southwest Broccoli Veggie-full Meal according to package instructions.

STEP 2. Place tortilla chips on a baking sheet.

STEP 3. Top with cooked Southwest Broccoli Veggie-full Meal, salsa, and plant based shredded cheese.

STEP 4. Broil for 2-3 minutes.

STEP 5. Remove from oven and top with chopped green onion and pickled jalapeños.

STEP 6. Serve with plant based sour cream for dipping!

If you become comfortable with veggie or vegan cooking you’ll soon see that nutritional yeast and flax seeds are key to making tasty meals. Fear not(!) – these ingredients are really easy to source. Local bulk and natural food stores will stock them regularly like The Main Ingredient.

And we can’t forget SNACKS. You don’t need to forgo snacks on Meatless Monday days!

We suggest easy-to-grab veggies: like these safely sealed, single-serve –  carrots, cherry tomatoes or grapes (to name just a few!) that come in 100% eco-friendly,  compostable packaging from RAOG Business Member, Nature Knows.

or making some of these simple Acai Energy Bites.

 

Lastly, sometimes you just don’t feel up to cooking, and that’s ok! There are other options.

MealKits – Search your community sites for meal kits like the one’s provided by Sorry I’ve Got Plants. S.I.G.P specialize in vegan and low-waste meal kits, AND they have a fantastic page on their website that’s dedicated to vegan recipes. You can take a peek here. (Side note: Let us know if you try out the Creamy Miso Soba Noodles – they look amazing!)

Ready-Made-Meals Visit your local, favourite fine grocery store. Many of them now offer to-go freezer meals that will make Meatless Monday a breeze.

Take-Out – is an ever-faithful option for when you don’t feel up to cooking. Before ordering, check in and see what packaging options are available: ask for no plastic cutlery and minimal packaging if possible!

Most popular search sites offer you the option to select ‘Vegetarian Options’ when you’re making your meal choice with most mainstream restaurants now providing meat-free or vegan options. You’ll soon find that Cauliflower Wings are becoming a hot contender for tastiest appetizer at some of your favourite go-to’s and it’s always easy and satisfying to get a veggie pizza.

Excitingly, more and more stand-alone vegetarian and vegan restaurants (like Plant Matter Kitchen) are also making their dishes available for easy and speedy delivery.

We hope our Meatless Monday cheat-sheet has provided you with a little food for thought (veggie of course 😉 ).

If you attempt Meatless Monday’s this year we’d love to see hear about it! Be sure to tag us at #RandomActsofGreen in your #MeatlessMonday posts.