Healthy Living Blog

Meatless Mondays – 10th Anniversary

Tina Miller, MS RD Meijer Healthy Living Advisor,


Tina Miller 2011Meatless Mondays is a public health campaign that encourages people to skip the meat on Mondays of each week.  The campaign is a non-profit initiative of “The Monday Campaigns”, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Skipping the meat once a week can be easy.  Try using meat alternatives such as veggie burgers, frozen burger crumbles or toss cubed tofu into recipes.  Prepare meals that are traditionally meatless such as pesto pasta with veggies or spaghetti marinara.  And take advantage of recipes that use beans and edamame (soy beans) to create meatless meals that are protein rich.  Go to to find great meatless and vegetarian recipes.


Going meatless just once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions:


  • Cancer:  Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk.  High consumption of red and processed meat has been associated with increased risk of colon cancer.
  • Heart Disease:  Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%.
  • Diabetes:  Research suggests that higher consumption of plant based foods and decreased intake of animal protein may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Healthy Body Weight:  People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and BMI.
  • Better Nutrition:  Consuming beans or peas, common foods in vegetarian diets, results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron, and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.


Budget Friendly:


Meat is one of the most costly food items in the grocery store.  Forgoing meat once a week is a great way to cut the weekly budget.


Meatless meals may also help cut the overall cost of healthcare.  Treatment of chronic preventable diseases accounts for 70% of total U.S. healthcare spending. Going meatless, just once day each week, can help to reduce risk for chronic health conditions thus reducing healthcare spending nationwide.


Environmental Benefits:


Animal agriculture requires more land, produces more waste and uses more water for livestock than plant based agriculture.  In fact, an estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu (produced in California) requires just 220 gallons of water per pound.



Meatless Recipes to Celebrate Meatless Mondays

Meatless Chili Mac Skillet

Serves: 6


3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. Meijer Olive oil
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) reduced sodium kidney beans, rinsed and   drained
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
3/4 cup dried whole grain elbow macaroni
2 tsp. McCormick chili powder
1 tsp. McCormick cumin
1 tsp. Meijer brown sugar
3 cups MorningStar Farms® Meal Starters® Grillers® Recipe   Crumbles™
3/4 cups Meijer 2% shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar   cheese


  1.     In large nonstick skillet cook onion in oil about 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in beans, water, salsa, tomato sauce, uncooked macaroni, chili powder, cumin and brown sugar. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer covered, about 15 minutes or until macaroni is tender.
  2.     Stir in MORNINGSTAR FARMS Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles. Return to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 2 to 4 minutes more or until heated through.
  3.    Remove from heat. Ladle into serving plates or bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutrition Information (per serving):  Calories 260, Fat 8g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 15mg, Sodium 680mg, Carbohydrate 33g, Fiber 9g, Protein 17g.

Recipe Source:  Morning Star Farms


Harvest Spinach Salad with Edamame

Serves 6


2 (5 oz.) pkgs. Earthbound Farm® baby spinach

1 cup shelled edamame (thawed if frozen)

1 Tbsp. Meijer extra virgin olive oil

1 cup sliced red onion

1 (8 oz.) pkg. sliced mushrooms

1 large Michigan Gala or Honey-crisp apple, cored and thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan, crumbled gorgonzola or crumbled Feta cheese.


1 cup apple cider or apple juice

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. Meijer pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Meijer Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place spinach and edamame in a large mixing bowl, toss lightly and set aside.
  2. Add oil to a large skillet and sauté onion over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add mushrooms, lightly season with salt and pepper and sauté an additional 2 minutes until softened.  Transfer to bowl with spinach.
  3. Make vinaigrette:  Return skillet to medium heat.  Add apple cider, cook until reduced slightly.  Stir in vinegar, maple syrup and mustard.  Cook 3 minutes until thickened slightly.  Remove from heat.
  4. Pour warm vinaigrette over salad.  Add apple slices, walnuts, cheese and season with black pepper to taste.  Toss to combine and serve with crusty whole grain baguette.

Nutrition Information (per serving):  Calories 201, Fat 9g, Cholesterol 11mg, Sodium 255 mg, Carbohydrate 22g, Fiber 5g, Protein 9g.