Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Meatless Monday made simple!

Currently I'm following a fairly strict, mastered meal plan in preparation for my first competition in October. However, in my usual daily diet, I utilize the goodness of both plant based meals and lean meats. More than a decade of being a vegetarian (and some random spurts of veganism) made me truly appreciate the deep, real flavors of meatless meals, as well as the nurturing nutritional value. Sometimes our digestive tracts just NEED that break! Whoever started the buzz of Meatless Monday is a genius! It's a great way to get people to focus on plant based meals for a day, without having to make the drastic commitment of giving up meat. For some, that's a huge step in the right direction of not basing every single meal on a meat dish! For others like myself who don't necessarily do that, it's a good reminder to our systems that we love them! For you seasoned vets, these dishes may ne something you have created or done similar versions of. For you meatless newbies, here are a few delicious recipes to get you going! All of these could be prepared as a side or main dish- the serving you eat would determine what place it takes!
The brussel sprouts, green beans, and yellow & green squash (aka zucchini), were all tossed in a small amount of pure olive oil, freshly ground pepper, and were created to be eaten heated. You could always make these cold veggie salads as well, although you may want to cook the brussel sprouts first and let them cool. The Parisian blend contains a Belgian endive, artichoke hearts, snap peas, and shallots- another dish great cold or hot. The small snack pack of veggies would be great on the go- especially during the busy summer months when we try to do everything at once! The tropical kebobs feature pineapple, varied mushrooms, peppers, and onions. You could play around with what fruits and veggies you put on here! Just be mindful of how well the items you put on hold up over a flame so you know where to cook them on your grill! Also, snacking can be made easy and healthy with homemade guacamole! WHO DOESN'T LOVE GUAC?! I'm a huge fan of new plays on chips as well, but you can't go wrong with good ol' tortilla chips! Remember- many veggies and fruits pair well together; DO IT! The summer heat calls for dense nutrition in small amounts with several mini meals (if you're like me- it's so hard to eat when the humidity is intense!). If you choose to make any of these as side dishes, think about pairing with quinoa, hot or cold, tossed in a homemade vinaigrette, or rice or another healthy grain of your choice! Happy meatless eating!

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