In an interview with ABC, accredited dietitian and spokeswoman for the Dietitians Association of Australia, Nicole Dynan, said that Australians tend to eat more meat than other people around the world, and that people who eat more plant-based food, such as vegetables and fruit, tend to have lower Body Mass Index, and reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and high cholesterol.
"The thing about vegetables and fruit and plant matter is they give you a lot of micronutrients, or the small nutrients, in your diet, things like vitamins and minerals, and fibre, which is really beneficial for your gut bacteria and helps your body function better,” said Nicole.
"The Australian dietary guidelines suggest we should really limit our red meat consumption to 450 grams of lean, red meat each week.
With that in mind, we consulted nutrition expert Sharon Natoli about the benefits of integrating a meat-free Monday into your weekly diets.
#1 Diversity your diet
“Doing meat-free Mondays can encourage you to try new foods that you may not have done otherwise. By increasing the variety of foods you eat, you’ll also increase the variety of nutrients you consume, and that’s a great bonus for your all round general health,” says Sharon.
#2 Reduce your environmental impact
“Going meat-free for just one night per week means helping reduce the environmental impact of your diet on the planet,” says Sharon. “Grazing livestock accounts for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions, so substituting meat with alternative proteins can be a great way to reduce your environmental footprint.”
#3 Eat more fibre
“You’re likely to eat a meal that’s higher in fibre when you remove meat from your plate, as meat-free meals often involve more vegetables and grains to help fill you up,” says Sharon. “This means you’ll be getting more fibre in your diet – which is great for keeping your gut healthy.”
#4 Improve your nutrient intake
“Meat can be substituted with other protein and nutrient rich foods, such as eggs which provide 11 different vitamins and minerals, including iron,” says Sharon. “Eggs also provide a good amount of healthy omega-3’s, which is good for blood pressure, brain and heart function, along with antioxidants that are good for eye health.”
#5 Become a better cook
“Going meat-free can increase your recipe repertoire. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut of routine meals, cooking the same things over and over again. Going meat-free on Mondays can stimulate and inspire you to try new and interesting dishes you may not have tried otherwise, keeping you interested in cooking and meal preparation.”
You might also like these vegetarian recipes:
You might also like this roasted cauliflower recipe to replace the usual Sunday roast.