Help Out Your Heart by Going Meatless this Monday

Heart disease is a broad term that covers an array of health conditions affecting the heart and is often used interchangeably with the term ‘cardiovascular disease’. According to the Mayo Clinic, conditions that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), and congenital heart defects. Cardiovascular disease are conditions that narrow or block the blood vessels, which could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

One of the risk factors for heart disease is eating a diet high in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. For the most part, red meat (beef, lamb, pork, processed meats) has more saturated fat than other protein options.1

The link between eating red meat and heart disease-related deaths

  • One serving of processed meat per day was associated with a 15% higher risk of cardiovascular disease death.2
  • Consumption of processed meats is associated with 42% higher incidence of coronary heart disease per 50g of serving per day.3
  • Red meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of total cardiovascular disease. Substitution of other healthy protein sources for red meat is associated with lower mortality risk.4

Reduce your risk of heart disease through healthy, plant-based eating

Meatless Monday is a simple and easy way to begin making small changes in your dietary habits to help manage your risk for heart disease.

10 easy tips to help you go Meatless Monday and kick-start a week of healthy eating

  1. Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
  2. Choose whole grains
  3. Choose plant-based proteins like legumes, beans, peas, and lentils
  4. Substitute red meat for plant-based meat alternatives like tempeh and tofu
  5. Nuts, seeds, and avocado are great snack options
  6. Use healthy fats like canola and olive oil for cooking
  7. Eliminate high sugar, high calorie junk foods such as potato chips, cookies, candy
  8. Choose foods that are low in sodium. Healthy adults should aim for no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, and most adults no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day
  9. Limit alcohol beverages – no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for a man
  10. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like juices, soda and energy drinks

Heart healthy Meatless Monday meal plans

To help you start on your Meatless Monday journey, we’ve created two sample heart healthy meal plans.

Option 1

Breakfast: Overnight Apple Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Snack: Carrots with Quick-and-Easy Hummus

Lunch: Strawberry Kale Salad with Almonds and Whole Wheat Dinner Roll

Dinner: Chana Sweet Potatoes

Dessert: Dark Chocolate Squares with Almonds

Option 2 (Minimum Cooking Required)

Breakfast: Whole-Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Apple

Snack: Plant-Based Protein Bar

Lunch: Pre-Made Veggie Patties

Snack: Roasted Chickpeas with Soy Yogurt

Dinner: Low-Sodium Lentil Soup

Dessert: Banana-Date Smoothie


Better understand YOUR heart health with these free resources

• ASCVD Risk Calculator

• Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms

• How to Manage Stress to Control High Blood Pressure

[1] CDC. National Center for Health Statistics. NHANES 2013-2014

[2] Zheng Yan, Li Yanping, SatijaAmbika, Pan An, Sotos-PrietoMercedes, Rimm Eric et al. Association of changes in red meat consumption with total and cause specific mortality among US women and men: two prospective cohort studies BMJ 2019; 365: l2110

[3] Micha R, Wallace SK, Mozaffarian D. Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus. Circulation 2010;121(21):2271–83.

[4] Pan A, Sun Q, Bernstein AM, et al. Red Meat Consumption and Mortality: Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(7):555–563. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2287