Making the Most of Meatless Monday

Alyssa Simon, Columnist

Last semester, Wilsbach dining hall chose to participate in Meatless Monday. If you are new to campus or have never heard of Meatless Monday, it’s exactly what it sounds like; if you choose to participate, you don’t eat meat on Mondays.

Many people overlook Meatless Monday because meat is a genuine staple in their diet and is often thought of as the glue that holds a meal together. For those who are accustomed to regularly eating meat, Meatless Monday may seem unnecessary, unaccommodating or even unfair considering the price of a dining hall meal. But if everyone who eats in the dining hall goes meatless for one day, or even one meal, it can have a large effect on the environment and over time, your health. Think about how much energy goes into that hamburger you want for lunch; there is energy needed to harvest the grains to feed the cattle, transport the cows to the slaughterhouse, butcher them, properly package the meat and distribute the meat across the country. The meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than energy from all the world’s planes, trains and automobiles combined, according to the United Nations. Cutting down on your demand of meat will cut down on how much meat is supplied, therefore helping to use less energy over time. Eating less meat, especially red meat, can help reduce your risk of heart disease, E. coli, and sudden death.

Going meatless for one or two meals does not mean you’ll be missing out on protein or iron. Plant foods are able to provide protein and iron, along with other nutrients and less calories. Vegetarian protein can be found in any milk product, such as yogurt or cheese, along with beans and legumes (chick peas, kidney beans), nuts and seeds, soy products (soy milk, tofu) and eggs, to name a few. In Wilsbach, the Wild Mushroom offers a complete selection of vegetarian and vegan foods, full of sources of protein and iron. Here are some suggestions for how to have a healthy Meatless Monday:

At breakfast: Rather than starting your day with bacon or sausage, try having an omelet made with one or two eggs. Add chopped onion, peppers, tomatoes—any vegetable you want! If you’re on campus without access to a kitchen, try a bowl of oatmeal with some walnuts or peanut butter and fruit stirred in.

At lunch: Trade your turkey or ham sandwich for a vegetarian one. Try hummus, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes on whole wheat bread. Grab a small bowl of vegetarian chili for your side dish!

At dinner: The dining halls offer veggie burgers all the time, but on Meatless Monday they’re more readily accessible. Try one with ketchup and mustard and a (small) portion of fries on the side. If sweet potato fries are available, choose those instead of regular!

Remember, Meatless Monday only happens once a week, but sacrificing your meat for one day, or even one meal, can make a huge difference for your body and the environment. So why not give it a try?

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