Most meals in the American diet are centered around meat. Vegetables have long taken their place as a side item. However, attitudes and habits are changing as more people learn about how fruits and vegetables improve our overall health.
In addition to providing emergency services, Community Care Ambulance wants to promote health in the communities we serve. That’s why we’ve gathered information about how you can make strides toward better health by incorporating more vegetables into your diet.
Take small steps. You don’t have to go full vegetarian to eat more vegetables. Try to eliminate meat one day a week, which is what the Meatless Monday movement promotes. Not ready for an entire meat-free day? Thy having one meat-free meal. Breakfast is a great place to start because there are plenty of traditional breakfast foods that are filling and nutritious. For example, stuff a breakfast burrito with eggs and your choice of vegetables such as mushrooms, avocado, spinach, jalapenos, corn and peppers.
For lunch or dinner, think about meals you like but remove meat from the recipe. Vegetarian lasagna is a good option because it’s a hearty comfort food chock full of nutrients. You won’t even miss the meat! Here’s a veggie lasagna recipe from Meatless Monday you can make in the slow cooker:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cut bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
16 ounces of 2% cottage cheese
2.5 cups low-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, divided into 4 parts
¼ teaspoon salt
26 oz. low-sodium pasta sauce
2 zucchini, sliced ¼” thick
8 oz no-boil, whole wheat lasagna noodles
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat; add mushrooms, peppers, onions and spinach, and cook 5 minutes or until water evaporates.
Mix cottage cheese, 2 cups mozzarella cheese and salt in mixing bowl.
Assemble lasagna in slow cooker as follows: 1/3 of pasta sauce, single layer noodles, 1/3 of cooked vegetables, single layer zucchini and 1/3 of cottage cheese mixture. Repeat for another 2 layers.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese on top.
Cook on low 5 hours, or until noodles and zucchini are tender.
Another easy meat-free option for lunch or dinner is spaghetti! Classic and simple, this Spaghetti Pomodoro recipe uses only olive oil, garlic cloves, tomatoes and oregano to create the sauce. Want more vegetables? Add chopped zucchini, mushrooms and peppers. You can even replace traditional noodles with plant-based ones like zucchini noodles. They taste great!
Meat Substitutes are Growing in Popularity
Another option for meatless meals is to use plant-based meat substitutes. The veggie-burger has been around for a long time, but the taste of these foods is getting better. A recent article from the San Francisco Chronicle highlights the “plant-based burger battle” between top veggie burger producers Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. As demand grows for meat substitute products and competition heats up, consumers benefit with good-for-you-food without having to sacrifice taste.
Learn about other ways Community Care Ambulance helps our communities – like providing healthcare screenings and CPR instruction. If you have a health-based event or idea that aligns with our mission, please call us at 833-698-5684.