Subtract some meat from your diet for a healthy new year

Many resolutions float around this time of year: Go to the gym, organize the house, spend more time doing X, Y or Z. How about subtracting some or all the meat from your diet?

There are simple ways to accomplish this with a lot of online support, whether you want to take baby steps or just jump right in:

Hitting up the salad bar for lunch? Instead of adding the diced ham or chicken, grab a scoop of beans. Legumes are a great source of protein that are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol and are high in folate, potassium, iron, fiber and magnesium. Meats are higher in fat and cholesterol. (Source) Also, try some new items to the salad, such as grapes, oranges, cabbage or mushrooms. Be sure to watch how much salad dressing you add, as the calorie intake can be deceiving. A splash of olive oil and red wine vinegar is a great topping.

Try Meatout Mondays — or any other day of the week. Meatout Mondays was started by the Great American Meatout, a grassroots diet educational campaign. The message is to try and be vegetarian or vegan one day a week as a way to improve your health and protect the environment. There also is Meatless Monday, started by The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, who is trying to restart a tradition started by the U.S. presidents during the two world wars. Both websites offer great recipes to try and more information on the movements.

Vegan Before Dinnertime. The New York Times food writer Mark Bittman had an interesting strategy for consuming less meat: eat vegan all day until 6 p.m. Here is an article that talks about his strategy. This another way to consume less meat in baby steps to help your body and the environment.

Want to take a more drastic approach? Try the 21-day Vegan Kickstart by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The free program offers a multitude of resources with menus, recipes, how-to videos and tips from vegan celebrities.

Are you going to try eating less meat during this new year? Let me know how your progress is going!

Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University and has been a vegetarian and geek for more than six years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie

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