- On March 4, 2014
If you love nuts and seeds raise your hand! If you love beans raise your hand! If you love lentils raise your hand! If you love whole grains like brown rice, millet and quinoa raise your hand! If you love fresh green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach and kale raise your hand!
If you’ve ever been to a Pea Pod Nutrition Class then you’ve probably heard me or one of our dietitians rattle off a list even longer than this one. I love using this tool as an ice breaker to our nutrition classes. Unfortunately, by the end of our ice breaker there are very few hands raised. Why? Because very few people truly enjoy eating legumes, nuts/seeds, and green leafy vegetables. But why is that? Is it because these foods are disgusting? NO! Of course not. Often times we don’t eat a particular food because we A) didn’t grow up eating it B) have no idea how to prepare it or C) never even think about eating it.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts/seed, legumes and whole grains are the cornerstones to a healthy diet. One easy way to get all these delicious and nutrient packed foods into your diet is by going meatless at least one day a week. The term “Meatless Monday” has become so famous there is now even a Meatless Monday website dedicated to helping users find great meat-free alternatives for their weekly siesta from meat. But I prefer a “Fearless Friday!” or “Sensational Saturday.” As a busy mother Monday’s just don’t really fit into my schedule as the perfect day to try something new in the kitchen but by Friday or Saturday things have become a little bit more relaxed and I’ve finally managed to find my way to the grocery store to stock up the fridge.
No matter the day you choose it’s time to pick a day and start to explore what your local grocery store and farmers market really has to offer. Now you might be saying to yourself “But I HATE veggie burgers” or “I tried one of those vegan hot dogs once and I almost threw up!” Have no fear (hence the “Fearless Fridays”). This is not a call for you to try every meat analog or fake meat in the grocery store. Instead, it is an opportunity for you to start incorporating more legumes and beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables and fruit in your diet.
The tough part is knowing where to begin. You need a game plan for this very first meal. You are going to the grocery store with a mission! Remember back when I talked about eating healthy on a budget? What was rule #1? HAVE A GAME PLAN! Find at least 5-10 recipes that you think look amazing and pick 3 of those for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. To make things even easier for a meatless newbie websites like food.com and allrecipes.com have users rate the recipes on the site so you can get a good idea if a recipe is going to be a hit or a complete failure before you invest your hard earn cash and time on whipping them up.
Here at Pea Pod we wouldn’t expect you to just go cruising the web trying to find a good recipe to feed your family. So instead, for the entire month of March (which happens to be National Nutrition Month) we are going to provide you with delicious meat free recipes perfect for the entire family. In fact, we are feeling a little generous and will be giving away a free, signed copy of Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food with over 150 recipes for every meal of the day (and snacks) that will satisfy even the most skeptic meat-lover. Check out our Facebook page for details on how to enter to win your free copy.