Lowered Costs, Increased Nutrition And A Variety Of Textures And Tastes For Meatless Monday
Meatless Monday also is known as a plant-based diet swapping out meat and dairy is widely popular around the world.
For this Meatless Monday blog post, I’m going to stick to meals that contain no meat as a means of cutting grocery costs.
With the onset of COVID-19, the Canadian Potato Growers association is struggling with having too many potatoes available.
In 2019, potato farmers grew 4.8 billion tonnes of potatoes destined for processing plants and grocery stores and plan to plant 15% less in 2020.
Since restaurants have been closing or only offering take-out there’s an excess of potatoes and are seeking immediate intervention from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister, Marie-Claude Bibeau.
On the beef, pork, and seafood side we may face shortages in Canada which means higher prices for consumers.
Bibeau, along with many other experts, has cautioned that Canada is not about to run out of food, though she and others have acknowledged that these supply chain problems could result in higher prices and potential shortages of some specific products. – Global News
Meat-packing plants in Alberta and Ontario are running at a lower capacity as some employees tested positive for COVID-19 and in some cases closing down.
A pork processing plant in Breslau, Ontario is closing down for a week and the seafood industry is facing the same crisis as the potato farmers.
If there are no buyers that demand product and lots of products waiting to be purchased the chain starts to fall apart.
Meatless Monday Meal Planning
I’ve never classified any day of our meal plan as “Meatless Monday” however it’s a great way to incorporate new meal ideas.
I’ve been thinking lately about how Meatless Monday might help our family from a few key perspectives that I want to talk about today.
- Meatless Monday and our Grocery Budget
- Environmental Responsibility To Our Planet
- Meatless Monday Benefits
Since I eat meat and don’t plan on quitting I’m not here to tell you that you must change your diet.
I’m not a dietician nor a medical professional that deals with nutrition so if you want to make changes, talk to your doctor.
What I am is a guy who wants to find the best ways for my family to eat healthy meals, trim our grocery budget, and get involved with the environment.
Grocery Budget Meatless Monday Savings
If you’ve ever been involved on my Facebook page nightly “What’s For Dinner” chat you’ll notice that Meatless Monday happens often.
I noticed that many of the fans would opt for a meatless meal on Monday which is something we never really gave much thought to.
However, there are many reasons why a meal plan with meatless meals can lower your grocery budget and you don’t have to eat them on Monday.
An avid Meatless Monday CBB reader Mary who loves her crunchy veggies as I do wants to share some key pointers about going meatless that she follows.
Ten points For Meatless Monday Meals
- Root and cruciferous vegetables are cheaper than the summer delicate items
- Cook your beans and lentils from dried as opposed to using canned goods
- Ensure you get a complete protein by combining the beans and lentils with grain
- Flavor enhancers such as herbs and spices can be used to kick your dish up a notch
- A great starting point to ensure you are eating a balanced vegetarian or vegan diet are a couple of books by dietician Vsanto Melina called “Becoming Vegetarian” and “Becoming Vegan“.
- I will bake extra firm tofu as a protein item however it has no taste until you add the flavor to it.
- Strict Vegetarians (Vegans) do need to take a B12 supplement of some sort. Fortified Red Star Nutritional Yeast or a vitamin pill.
- If you aren’t keeping fish and seafood in your diet your Omega 3 fatty acids need to come from walnuts.
- A single egg is a perfect protein
- Portion control should be applied to the pulses and grains but do eat 10-12 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
Keeping An Up To Date Spice List
What I also want to point is that keeping an up to date spice list in your kitchen is important.
Spices give life to food and we couldn’t imagine living without them when preparing meals.
If you’re looking to keep costs down visit local international grocery stores where prices on spices can’t be beaten.
Also, another great tip from Mary was to purchase dried beans and lentils as they are far cheaper and easy to hydrate.
We use our crockpot to hydrate our dry beans which takes about 4 hours on a low setting.
About 20 days ago I bought a 2kg bag of dry lupini beans from a reduced shopping cart sale $2.99 and hydrated them.
This process of hydrating lupini beans takes approximately 17 days of boiling them once and changing the water daily.
The result is delicious lupini beans that cost me a fraction of what it would have if I bought one jar for $4.
In our pantry, you will find Nutritional Yeast and it tastes like cheese and Mrs. CBB sprinkles it in soup or any meal for the added B12 for her Keto diet
Budget Benefits Of Meatless Monday
Removing one or two of the above options allows you to buy a variety of fruits and vegetables you may not typically buy.
For example, if you forget about buying a $20 roast for Monday and opt for something meatless you can easily decrease your budget.
Replace your Monday roast with Lentil Sloppy Joes and a large garden salad.
The idea behind meatless meals is to help families realize that you don’t need to have meat, chicken, or seafood with every meal.
Like any other meal, you can batch cook and stretch your Meatless Monday meals for another day during the week.
Adding variety to our meals along with textures, and smells improve our pallet and will open more purchasing power.
For example, if you have a picky eater as we do then you know that buying the same foods over and over is reality.
If our son was open to trying new foods that would allow us a wider radius of meals for our meal plan thus potential grocery savings.
Also, there are health benefits when including more plant-based vegetables, beans, and grains in your diet.
You can’t beat the health-factor of meatless meals especially added vitamins A and C, minerals, dietary fibre, potassium, folic acid, and less saturated fat.
Most people can get all of their needed vitamins simply by eating the right kinds of foods.
Although I like fruit I’m careful about the fruits I choose to eat as many of them are high in natural sugars.
For example in our house you might find:
- Mulberries (from our tree in the summer)
- Gooseberries (from our tree in the summer)
Any leftover berries that are on their last leg I turn them into sugar-free jam so there’s no food waste.
Our son loves bananas and apples so you’ll also always find them in our kitchen.
The juice we buy is apple juice not from concentrate and he gets about 4 tablespoons in a large Contigo bottle filled with water.
Healthy Protein Foods
- Tofu and Soy or Soy beverages
- Nuts and Seeds
- Sardines, Tuna, and Salmon
- Beans, Peas, and Lentils
In an earlier post, I chatted about how we plan to become a more self-sufficient family.
Related: Sustainable Living On A Budget
This included ensuring that we did everything we could to grow vegetables and herbs on our property.
We also have a crab apple tree and a massive rhubarb plant that keeps on giving all summer long.
This year, in particular, we will be replacing our planters and hanging baskets for herbs and vegetables.
We’d rather grow an edible garden that we can eat instead of flowers that look and smell pretty but soon die.
However, I’m also growing nasturtiums that are edible flowers and if you are growing zucchini please do eat the orange zucchini blossoms.
You’ll also find bird feeders that attract birds to our property as well as bees and butterflies.
Meatless Monday Meals Worth Exploring
- Pesto Pasta
- Italian Rapini with added boiled potatoes
- Indian Coconut Curry Roasted Potatoes
- Vegetarian Chili
- Spinach Stuffed Shells
- Three Bean Enchilada Casserole
- Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans and Quinoa
There are also soups galore that you can add to your Meatless Monday meal plan.
Check out my Free Recipe Depot Soup and Salad section!
Meatless Monday Snacks (High Protein)
- Hummus and Crackers or Carrots
- Bowl of Cereal
- Beans on Toast (Yum, my favourite)
- Vegetable Pizza on Crescent Roll Dough
- Matcha Protein Balls
- Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast (tastes like cheese)
- Whole Wheat Bread with Nut Butter
- A plate of raw veggies and dip
Testing Your Meatless Monday Grocery Budget
Keeping your options open by including one Meatless Monday meal a week will encourage perhaps two.
If you’re looking for variety in your diet or even lighter meals opt for something meatless but with a solid protein source.
Testing how your grocery budget will adapt to including meatless meals is a great step in your deciding factor.
If you find Meatless Monday is costing you more money then try it bi-weekly or monthly.
Discussion: What other Meatless Monday tips would you add for CBB readers?
Leave me your comments below.