I'm learning more about more about the effects of meat and dairy on our health and it's freaking me out a bit. I'm not mentally prepared to go vegan right now, or even full vegetarian, but I am most definitely ready to take another step in that direction; to lean into it a little more. We've decided to eat less meat and dairy at home and when eating out, and to also make more of an effort with our kids who eat a ton of meat and dairy.
The beauty with "leaning into it", whether a slow lean or a heavy lean, is that there are no rules. I'm finding my own path, inspired by others, and hopefully inspiring a reader or two along the way.
Here are a few things I've done lately to eat less meat...
- I'm trying to serve every meal with two vegetables instead of one. This helps fill the plate with whole foods that are plant based instead of more meat.
- I had two thawed bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts for dinner. Instead of making them for our main course, I roasted them and sliced the meat. I used the meat for Chicken Caesar Salads (using PCC's vegan dressing which I love) for two nights. Instead of those two chicken breasts feeding two adults I was able to stretch it for two adults and two kids one night, and four adults and two kids the next night. That's two chicken breasts for ten servings! Not bad. I did use parmesan in the salad and served bread with cheese (crostinis with cambozola - yum!) so I'm not cutting out cheese here either, but making baby steps to eat less. I also served the chicken caesar with two veggies instead of one so nobody left the table hungry or unsatisfied.
- This week I made my Ma Pa Tofu. I skipped the pork and used half chicken stock and half veggie stock. It wasn't as good as the regular recipe but it was good enough. Served with rice and two veggies and again, everyone left full and satisfied.
- I've been making fried rice and using extra veggies. I also use a bit more oil so I can use less butter. Finally I top it with sauteed kale instead of a fried egg.
- I've been googling and going through all my cookbooks looking for vegetarian options.
- I have my fridge stocked with various options for milk... regular for my kids plus coconut, almond, soy and rice. I use different milk for different needs.
- I'm trying to get away from making cheese quesadillas or grilled cheese as my go-to lunch for myself or the kids. Instead I'm doing more juice, smoothies, leftovers, salads and fruit.
- I'm going to prepare more ethnic vegetarian dishes because they're so packed with flavor. Who doesn't love a great green curry over rice. Just skip the chicken and add more veggies.
- I made homemade vegetable stock to freeze and use in place of chicken stock. If I'm not going to use the chicken stock, I might as well have a really great veggie stock since the store bought ones are never as good.
Are you eating less meat and dairy? Where are you skipping it, what are you eating instead, and where are you giving yourself the ok to cheat?