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Five Plant-based Meals for Meatless Mondays

The Meatless Monday movement began in 2003 when activist Sid Lerner started The Monday Campaigns in tangent with Johns Hopkins University and their Center for a Livable Future. There are many widespread physical health benefits of the campaign, ranging from preventing ailments such as heart disease and breast cancer to a more maximized nutrient intake from your diet.  

Crucially, Meatless Mondays also allow you to play an active role in the fight against climate change. In fact, according to Lerner’s campaign, the process of raising livestock generates more carbon dioxide than the transportation industry. Alarmingly, cattle alone produce 37 percent of methane emissions resulting from human activities every year. In terms of land consumption, the necessary components to raise livestock take up 75 percent of the Earth’s agricultural land. 

Undeniably, forgoing meat for a day, or participating in Meatless Mondays, has resounding benefits for both your health and the planet. To make the switch more seamless, here are five meatless meals anyone can make. 

Breakfast: Omelettes.

Who doesn’t love a good omelet? Whether this surprises you or not, eggs aren’t actually considered meat and thus are fair game for all your Meatless Monday cooking. Eggs have a very similar amount of protein in them to that of other kinds of poultry. According to Women’s Health Magazine, eggs can even be used instead of meat with all the same health benefits. Personally, I like my omelets with some onions, mushrooms, and spinach; then add a bit of hot sauce or ketchup on there and you’re good to go!

Breakfast: Smoothie Bowls.

Smoothie bowls are one of the best breakfast foods because they’re healthy, tasty, and if you’re going for it- trendy! The bowls are often chock full of essential vitamins like vitamins C and B as well as magnesium and potassium. Smoothie bowls are also useful for those with a busy schedule, as they can be frozen and reheated to eat whenever you want. My personal favorite includes a whole banana, strawberries, blueberries, ice, and a splash of orange juice.

Lunch: Salads (But Make it Exciting).

Salads are great because they’re arguably one of the most versatile foods you could ever make; they can be as simple or complicated as you want them to. However, with a plant-based or meatless diet, it’s important to ensure that you’re eating enough protein. In order to add some more bulk to your greens, opt for a hard-boiled egg, some quinoa, or a handful of walnuts, and if you aren’t a salad gal, pick out a dressing that excites you. My favorite salad consists of a blend of spinach and arugula with asparagus, a hardboiled egg, red onions, and artichoke hearts. For a dressing, I use an olive oil and red wine vinegar combo with salt and pepper.  

Lunch: Avocado Toast.

You know it, you love it, avocado toast! Avocados are ideal for a meatless Monday meal not only because they contain tons of essential nutrients such as potassium, folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E. You may have heard avocados are high in fat, which is true, but the fat they contain is ‘good’ fat or monounsaturated fat; so don’t shy away from avocados for this reason! I make my avocado toast with a whole avocado, red onion, lime juice, tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and put it all on a piece of toasted bread. 

Veggie Quesadillas and Salsa.

Quesadillas are some of the easiest food to make, and they’re highly customizable depending on what you’re in the mood for. For a meatless Monday quesadilla, I recommend adding cheese, onions, beans, peppers, and green chilies. If you’re feeling fancy, feel free to top off your quesadillas with some store-bought or homemade salsa or sour cream. 

No matter what you’re craving, there’s often a vegetarian option that’s healthy for you and the planet!

Chloe is a sophomore at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has double majors in English Literature and Sociology with a Leadership Studies Minor. In her free time, she enjoys reading, working out, spending time with friends, and eating good food.
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