26 Practical Steps to a Healthier You: Treat Meat Like a Condiment {Week 4}

For the next 26 weeks I will be sharing a different way you can become healthier in your daily life. Some of these suggestions have to do with food or exercise, others have to do with lifestyle changes, but all of them are practical and relatively easy to execute. You may already be practicing some of these habits, but hopefully you’ll be inspired by at least one or two new ideas you can begin to implement.


If your family was like mine growing up, you had meat at nearly every evening meal. (To this day my parents still have a decent sized portion of meat at dinner every night). In America we tend to treat meat like a staple rather than a condiment like other nations. We don’t realize what this may be doing to our long-term health.


Did you know the number-one cause of death in the U.S. in 2011 was heart disease? Saturated fat is a culprit for the widespread occurrence of this preventable, yet deadly disease as it raises the cholesterol levels in your blood which in turn increases your risk for heart disease.  Did you further know that meat is the greatest contributor to Americans’ saturated fat intake? Peggy Neu, president of the Monday Campaigns says, “Eliminating a day of meat can cut your weekly saturated fat by about 15%.” Now, I’m not saying  you should never eat meat, but simply to limit your intake. Fill up mostly on vegetables, legumes and fruit, and compliment your meal with meat rather than making it the center of your meal.


Recent Grocery Sales:
Hamburger: $3.79/lb (Costco)
Bananas: 39 cents/lb (Costco)
Apples: 89 cents/lb (Hannaford)
Spinach: $2.19/lb (Costco)
Sweet Potatoes: 69 cents/lb (Hannaford)
Mushrooms: $2.39/lb (Costco)

Looking at the above sale prices, it is clear to see the same amount of money that you’d spend on two pounds of hamburger, could be used to purchase two pounds of bananas, one pound of apples, 16 ounces of spinach, two pounds of sweet potatoes, and 16 ounces of mushrooms, instead! I’d say skipping meat for a week is a wise choice!

If you have a tight grocery budget, this one simple step could decrease your stress dramatically. It just takes a little creativity to find meatless meals, but with the Internet at your fingertips it hardly even requires that!


Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Lentil Tacos:

lentil tacos

In a medium saucepan combine:

1/2 cup water

1/4 lentils, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup chopped onion (1 small)

Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes or until lentils are tender and liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, heat 8 taco shells according to package directions. Stir into lentil mixture:

1 8oz can tomato sauce

5 tsp taco seasoning mix (1/2 a package)

Bring to a boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes. Then, stir in:

8oz refrigerated water-packed firm tofu, drained and finely chopped

Heat through. Spoon into taco shells. Top with:

1.5 cups lettuce

1 medium tomato, chopped

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Salsa (optional)

Quinoa Patties

Mexican Rice Bowl

Vegetarian Chili

Stuffed Peppers

Homemade Mac & Cheese


Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Broccoli Bars:

broccoli bars

Preheat oven to 350. Combine in medium mixing bowl:

4T olive oil

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup milk

3 eggs

10oz frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

8oz shredded cheese

Pour mixture into a greased 9×9″ baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes uncovered until slightly browned.

Minestrone Soup

Black Bean Soup

Vegetarian Omelet

Egg Fried Rice


Baked Lentils with Cheese:

lentil dish

Preheat oven to 375. Combine in shallow 9×13″ baking dish:

1 3/4 cup, rinsed

2 cups water

1 whole bay leaf

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/8 each marjoram, sage, thyme

2 large onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups canned tomatoes

Cover tightly and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and stir in:

2 large carrots, sliced 1/8″ thick

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

Baked covered for 40 minutes until vegetables are tender. Stir in:

1 green pepper, chopped (optional)

2T finely chopped parsley

Sprinkle on top:

3 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes until cheese melts.

Do you have a favorite meatless meal?