Easy Ways to Add More Meatless Meals to 2014

A new year usually means resolutions and typically those resolutions have something to do with a healthier lifestyle.  Whether you’re trying to lose a few pounds or simply trying to eat a healthier diet, one way to accomplish this is by adding more fruit and vegetables to your daily meals. Fruit and vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in fiber, which help to fill you up, keeping you from snacking on all those “bad” things that tend to pack on the pounds.  An added bonus is that they are also packed with vitamins and minerals, which keep you energized (a plus if one of your resolutions is to exercise more!).


One thing I started doing a few years ago was working in a meatless meal each week to my regular menu lineup.  You may have heard of “Meatless Monday,” if not, it’s an international initiative to get people to start their week on a healthier note and have meat-free meals. I think it’s a great idea, although I don’t necessarily always have my meatless meals on Mondays and there are times when I have meatless meals on multiple days of the week.  For many folks, the idea of having a dinner entree that is completely meatless might initially sound a bit odd at first, but I’m going to show you that there are plenty of hearty, meat-free options that are delicious and filling.


 Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has featured healthy plates, which were designed so that each plate meets the MyPlate guidelines of having at least half the plate filled with fruit and vegetables.  Since I’m choosing recipes that are meatless, you’ll find that these plates go beyond those guidelines.  Let’s start with Caramelized Mushroom and Vidalia Onion Risotto.  This dish is low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with flavor.  Add a side of fruit and your dinner is complete.


Mushroom and Onion Risotto


Here is a dish that can be served for brunch or dinner–Herbed Spinach Quiche Portabella Caps.  Mushroom caps replace high fat/calorie pastry for this quiche, yet the end result is still the savory taste you love.


Quiche Portabella Caps


 Perfect this time of year is a steaming bowl of soup and Mediterranean Potato Soup is filling enough for a dinner entree.  Just add a slice of whole grain bread and a side salad and you’re set!  You’ll get your protein from the kidney beans in the soup, which along with the potatoes and whole wheat noodles make it a satisfying meal.


Potato Soup


Finally, pizza is always a hit with the family, but don’t call for takeout.  Here is a healthy version you can easily make yourself–Herbed Garden Pizza.  Fresh veggies and a whole wheat crust make this pizza a tastier and lower fat/calorie option than anything you’ll get from your local takeout.


Garden Pizza


There are plenty of additional choices for meatless meals–veggie stir-fry, whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce and a side salad, black bean enchilandas …the list is endless.  Explore your favorite online cooking websites or experiment using other protein sources like eggs, beans or tofu.  If you are creative with a variety of ingredients and seasonings, you and your family won’t miss the meat–mine don’t!


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