How to Eat Healthier with Meatless Monday

Why Meatless Monday?

Eating more fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains can help you stay healthy and live longer. And people who start their week with Meatless Monday tend to eat healthier all week long.  

Consuming less red and processed meat and more plant-based foods can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity.

All information has been produced with our scientific partners at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

Easy Ways to Get Started with Meatless Monday

  • Think about what you like to eatwhether it’s burritos, burgers, tacos, stir fries, chili, curry, soups, or pastasthen swap out meat for a plant-based option (beans, tofu, veggies, nuts, etc).
  • Look for recipe inspiration online, in cookbooks, or in our recipe gallery.
  • Plan your Monday meals in advance.
  • Recruit a friend or family member to join you, and if you slip up, try again next Monday.
  • Set a weekly reminder in your phone or calendar.
  • Take the Meatless Monday Challenge – 12-week program that makes meat reduction easy and delicious.
  • Follow us @MeatlessMonday on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for daily recipes and tips.

Ready to Get Started?

Click to access the Meatless Monday Healthy Eating Guide featuring nutritional info, serving sizes, protein swaps, free graphics, and suggested communications.

What Can I Eat Instead of Meat?

You can enjoy most of your favorite foods, made plant-based. There are plenty of healthy and delicious plant-based options that can easily provide enough protein.

Registered Dietitian Advice for Meat Reduction

  • Make 1/2 of your plate vegetables, 1/4 plant-based protein, and 1/4 whole grains.
  • Eat 3 pieces of fruit per day. Tip: eat as a snack between meals. 
  • Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products. Tip: Oats, popcorn, quinoa, and farro are always whole grain.
  • Substitute beans or legumes for meat on Mondays and aim to add two to three additional bean-based meals per week. 
  • Canned beans are a quick and affordable meat substitute. Rinse beans with water to reduce some of the sodium.
  • Soy is an excellent plant-based protein source that is safe for men, women, and children.
  • Consumption of soy products is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Look for less processed soy products such as tofu, edamame, and tempeh.

Healthy Food Swaps

Meatless Monday Recipes

Plant-based Cooking Tips

  • Use familiar sauces and seasonings, like barbecue sauce, hot sauce, marinara, and Italian seasoning, to effortlessly recreate flavors of your favorite dishes.
  • Experiment with plant-based “swaps” to mimic the texture and taste of beef, chicken, and pork.
  • Add some umami (a taste that gives meat it’s signature flavor) using vegetarian ingredients, such as mushrooms, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, and miso paste.
  • Worried about protein? Don’t be. There are tons of ways to get the recommended daily amount of protein without meat. Beans, lentils, peas, nuts, tofu, and meat-alternatives (Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods) are all excellent sources of protein.
  • Stock your kitchen with staples like canned beans, pasta, grits, frozen fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, canned soup, and tofu to quickly whip-up a weeknight meal.