Want to Save Money on Food? Eat Less Meat

You don’t have to be one hundred percent vegetarian to enjoy the health benefits and money saving benefits of eschewing meat, though that is certainly a good option. But if you are not ready to make a real commitment to a veggie lifestyle you still get to choose what to eat at least three times a day, 365 days a year. Why not get some benefits by making more of those meals meat-free?

The Beauty of Produce

Think about what it is that keeps you coming back to the carnivorous choice over and over again. Is it habit? Or perhaps lack of knowledge of alternatives? There are plenty of jokes about Tofu, usually made by people who have never tried it. Nutritionists recommend five daily servings of vegetables and four of fruit per day for good health, even for committed carnivores. And the truth is that vegetables and fruit are the beautiful gifts of the earth. You can grow them yourself if you have the space and the skill, the most frugal choice of all.

What is really at issue is the protein portion of the meal. Americans in particular have strange ideas about protein, generally overestimating the amount needed, which is an individual thing.  So it is a good idea to do your own calculation.  Once you know how much you need, it’s up to you to decide where it comes from.

Meat has as much impact on your carbon footprint as driving a gas hog, and uses millions of gallons of water that is needed elsewhere. Protein comes in many other forms, including food combining of legumes and grains. What could be more warming on a fall or winter day than a big pot of beans with cornbread? This is a complete, balanced meal. Just load the beans with vegetables and have applesauce on the side to create a perfectly healthy meal that even a meat-eater could love.

Check out these links to more information on a meat-free life:

http://www.5aday.gov/ the government site on recommended servings

http://www.becomingavegetarian.net/ some good information, even if you are just trying to cut down

http://www.fitsugar.com/How-Much-Protein-Do-I-Need-Day-165578 Information on protein needs

http://www.fitsugar.com/How-Much-Protein-Do-I-Need-Day-165578 Another view on protein, though it is meatcentric. The leanest protein of all is vegetable based.

http://allrecipes.com//Recipes/everyday-cooking/vegetarian/Main.aspx Try out some recipes!

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/ The Mother of all veggie sites.

And as for the bean and cornbread dinner I mentioned? Check back in a few days and I will post the recipes.

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