Meatless Meal Ideas

by Heather

I am attempting to create a healthy lifestyle for my family. Despite my best efforts I can’t always make it work, but I have found one easy way to help me get the job done.  I simply incorporate a few meatless meals each week and truly focus on veggies and fruit.  A fun way to help my kids eat healthier is design a meal out of vegetables and fruit and of course some creamy dips.

It is as easy as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Gather all kinds of veggies and fruit.  Add something new each week to broaden your selection and don’t forget to take the kids shopping with you.  They will be more likely to try a new veggie if they have some say in the selection.
  2. Clean the fresh produce and arrange on a tray. Don’t forget to add a bowl of Ranch dressing or your favorite dipping sauce.
  3. Step number 3 is truly what gets my kids excited about eating those veggies….. place a blanket on the floor or outside and gather the family around for a fun and new way of dining.  Sit in a circle on the blanket with the tray in the middle and start crunching.  My bet is you will get your daily dose of veggies and enjoy some good family conversations as well.

If this suggestion doesn’t fit your family’s idea of a dinner then try putting fresh fruit and veggies in a cupcake pan for a healthy afternoon snack.  Fun and simple!  Fill each of the cupcake rounds with your favorite vegetables, fruit, cheese, crackers, and dipping sauce. Watch the goodies disappear.

My challenge for you:  Try eating one meatless meal a week to improve your health and our environment. Replace the meat with a vegetable, whole grain pastas, tofu, or stir-fry with rice.  You will be amazed at how easy this is to do and the impact it can make on your wallet.

Try this quick vegetable recipe:

Frozen Edamame (soybeans in the pods)

Steam an 8oz package of frozen edamame in the microwave for about 4 minutes.

Drizzle about 1 Tablespoon of EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil) in a pan.  Add the steamed edamame and a tablespoon of Canadian Steak seasoning.  Stir-fry the vegetable for 3-5 minutes.   Add more EVOO if needed so all pods have a nice light coating of oil and seasoning.

Enjoy the delicious side dish or snack.  Don’t eat the pods; just pull the beans out with your teeth and toss the pods into your compost pile.

Roasted Vegetables

Roast veggies in the oven for a new taste.  Put raw vegetables onto a cookie tray or baking dish (make clean-up easier by lining the pan with foil). Drizzle the vegetables with EVOO and a dash of your favorite seasoning(s). We like pepper, salt, and/or garlic on our roasted vegetables.

Roast the vegetables at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the veggies are crisp and slightly brown.  Drizzle with fresh lemon juice.

**Key to perfectly roasted veggies:  Make sure they are very dry before putting them in the oven.

Try these vegetables:

Broccoli –425 for about 20 minutes.
Brussels sprouts

I often throw in garlic cloves and/or onions to infuse the vegetables with even more flavor. YUM!!

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