Be A Weekday Vegetarian – Health, Beauty, and Environmental Benefits
Are you looking to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health but aren’t quite ready to give up meat? Enter the weekday vegetarian lifestyle.
What is a Weekday Vegetarian?
A weekday vegetarian is someone who chooses to follow a mostly plant-based diet during the weekdays and then consumes meat only on weekends or special occasions.
So Monday through Friday, you only eat a vegetarian diet–then Saturday and Sunday you allow yourself to eat meat or whatever you’d like. Your ‘cheat days’.
For many, cutting down on eating meat is welcomed, but the idea of removing meat completely from their diet is too daunting. It leads people to give up and think, this is too hard. Why bother?
The great thing about the weekday vegetarian lifestyle is that it allows individuals to reduce their meat intake without completely eliminating it from their diets. This approach is more realistic and manageable than completely giving up meat.
Benefits of Being a Weekday Vegetarian
There are numerous benefits to being a weekday vegetarian, both for your health and the environment. Here are just a few:
- Improved Health: Studies have shown that plant-based diets can lead to lower rates of heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. It can also help regulate your digestive system, strengthen your immune system, and even improve mental health.
- Reduced Carbon Footprint: The meat industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation. By consuming less meat, you can reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment.
- More Affordable: Plant-based proteins such as beans and lentils tend to be less expensive than meat, making a weekday vegetarian lifestyle a more affordable option.
- More Variety: Eating a plant-based diet during the weekdays can lead to trying new recipes and incorporating more diverse ingredients into your meals.
- Beauty Benefits: Eating a plant-based diet also has many beauty benefits as it can help manage a healthy weight, clear up your complexion, and provide better nutrients for stronger, shinier hair.
- Ethical Reasons: You may just be an animal lover and want to contribute as little as possible to their harm. While you still may consume meat on the weekends, your decrease in meat consumption will contribute less to the demand for meat. It may sound hypocritical but it’s better than doing nothing and making matters worse.
How To Be a Weekday Vegetarian
Interested in trying out a weekday vegetarian lifestyle? Here are some tips on how to get started:
Plan Your Meals
Planning your meals ahead of time can help you stay on track during the week. Look for plant-based recipes that you can make in advance or that can be prepared quickly during busy weekdays. If you’re not familiar with vegetarian recipes, you may feel more tempted to stray from your plant-based diet for a quicker, more convenient meal.
Focus on Protein
It’s important to make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet to keep your body healthy and energized. Eat plenty of plant-based protein sources such as lentils, tempeh, edamame, chickpeas, and tofu into your meals.
Experiment with Meat Alternatives
There are many meat alternatives on the market today, from veggie burgers to plant-based sausage. They have really come a long way when it comes to tasting like real meat. Try incorporating these into your weekday meals if you’re craving a meat-like texture and taste. Popular meat alternative brands include Beyond, Impossible, Tofurkey, Quorn, and Upton Naturals.
If you’re used to eating meat every day, it can be challenging to switch to a weekday vegetarian lifestyle right away. Consider starting with a few days a week and gradually increasing until you’re following the lifestyle full-time. This doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need to beat yourself up if you break your diet some days.
Easy Vegetarian Recipes
Looking for some weekday vegetarian recipe inspiration? Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Vegetarian Lo Mein
- 8 oz of lo mein noodles
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cup of broccoli florets
- 1 cup of snap peas
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Cook the lo mein noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the sliced red bell pepper, broccoli florets, and snap peas to the skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly tender.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar.
- Add the cooked noodles to the skillet with the vegetables. Pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables and stir to combine.
- Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce has thickened and everything is well coated.
- Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds. Serve hot and enjoy!
Crispy and Soft Vegetarian Tacos
- 6 corn or flour tortillas
- 1 can of corn, drained
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Arrange the tortillas on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until crispy.
- While the tortillas are baking, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and let it heat up for a minute.
- Add sliced tomatoes to the skillet for 3-5 minutes or until soft and the edges browned.
- Add the can of corn to the skillet and season generously with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin powder to taste.
- Take the tortillas out of the oven and divide the seasoned corn among them.
- Top each tortilla with the tomatoes and sliced avocados. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top.
- Return the tortillas to the oven and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the avocados are slightly browned and the tomatoes are slightly wilted.
- Remove from the oven and garnish your tortillas with cilantro. Serve hot and enjoy!
Looking for even more weekday vegetarian recipe ideas? Check out “The Weekday Vegetarians” cookbook by Jenny Rosenstrach. This cookbook features 100 easy and delicious plant-based recipes that are perfect for weekday meals. From sheet pan dinners to one-pot pastas, this cookbook has something for everyone.
Final Wrap Up
Whether you’re a meat lover looking to reduce your intake or a seasoned vegetarian looking for new recipe ideas, a weekday vegetarian lifestyle can be a great option for you. By focusing on plant-based proteins and experimenting with meat alternatives, you can enjoy a variety of delicious and healthy meals while still enjoying meat in moderation.
So why not give it a try? Start by incorporating a few plant-based meals into your weekday routine and see how you feel. Who knows, you may just discover a new favorite recipe or even decide to follow the weekday vegetarian lifestyle full-time.