For different reasons, more and more of us are making an effort to be more conscious around our food consumption.
And eating meat and dairy is certainly an important consideration—not just for animal welfare, but also for the greater good of the planet and delaying our own extinction as a species.
But lifelong habits are hard to break, so for those who don’t feel ready to commit to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, it is more than worthwhile to consider reducing overall consumption.
For those inspired to participate in Meat Free Monday this coming week, the following is a suggested meal plan. The recipes can be made using typical store-cupboard, fridge and freezer contents. So if you don’t have time to go grocery shopping you should still be able to whip up some delicious meat-free meals.
Breakfast: Creamy Strawberry Banana Oatmeal
I’m not an oatmeal person, but this recipe does sound a little decadent. Frozen berries can be substituted for fresh and it’s ready to enjoy in eight minutes. According to the author, it’ll make you “cry tears of breakfast joy”—if you are an oatmeal fan, that’s got to be worth a try!
But if oatmeal isn’t for you, or you want an ever speedier option, my go-to breakfast is toast with peanut butter (from the health food store, additive and palm-oil free) and bananas. Satisfying, filling and a great accompaniment to coffee.
Lunch: Fridge Soup
This recipe comes with a list of suggested ingredients but, as the name implies, use whatever you’ve got to hand (and omit the meat option on this occasion). Making your own soup is quicker and easier than you might imagine and it’s also a great way to use up veg that’s starting to wilt. And, most importantly, the results are infinitely more delicious than any store-bought products—whether “fresh” or processed.
Dinner: Spaghetti with Arrabiata Sauce
With a tin of tomatoes (or a jar of passata), onions and garlic, it’s really quick and easy to knock up your own home-made pasta sauce. And once you try it, paying good money for sugar-laden and other additive-infused ready-made sauces becomes far less appealing. If you like a bit of kick to your sauce, then this arrabiata recipe is perfect. And if you don’t have fresh chills in your fridge, use dried chili flakes to add your heat instead.
The healthier option would be to turn a can of chickpeas into a bowl of hummus to enjoy with carrot sticks or oat cakes. But if you’d like something a bit bolder, why not make these on Sunday evening for a delicious snack to munch your way through Monday.
They’re easy to make, though they do require some monitoring to make sure they don’t burn. If you like salt and vinegar crunchiness as much as I do, and you have more than one can of chickpeas in your cupboard, it might be wise to make an extra big batch.
For more information on meat-free Mondays, check out their website. And for other meat-free meal ideas check out these relephant links:
Author: Hilda Carroll
Editors: Renée Picard; Caitlin Oriel