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10 Tips for Eating Less Meat

This information was reviewed and approved by Andrew M. Freeman, MD, FACC, FACP (1/31/2021).

Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains, along with nuts in limited quantities can reduce your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

If you are concerned with lack of protein, remember that as long as you are eating adequate calories, it is unlikely that you will become protein deficient. Plant-based sources of protein are not only convenient, low-fat, nutritious, but also eco- and environmentally friendly.

Try these tips to help you eat less meat.

Buying Groceries

Buying Groceries

Look for minimally processed plant-based convenience foods such as soups, grain mixes, canned beans, frozen vegetables with legumes and vegetarian entrées. Watch added dairy ingredients which increase fat intake.

Vegetarian Pizza

Eating Out

Ask for plant-based and low-fat options at restaurants. Try new restaurants, many specialties from around the world are plant based and delicious.

Family preparing vegetables

Something New

Start with the fruits and vegetables that you like and try others to broaden your list.

Meatless Monday

Meatless Mondays

Go meatless for one meal each day or the same day each week. Replace meat in burritos, burgers and
soups with different types of beans, legumes and lentils.

Oatmeal with berries

Breakfast Ideas

Make oatmeal with water, add fruit and nuts or top 100% whole grain bread with sliced fruit. Instead of bacon or sausage, try tempeh (a soy product) or seitan (wheat gluten).

Healthy salad

Lunch Options

Make a sandwich 100% whole grain bread sandwich, hummus and vegetables; steamed vegetables with beans; or make a salad with vegetables and nuts.

Sweet potatoes

Simple and Easy

Bake half of a sweet potato with a sauce or salsa, add beans and a large serving of your favorite mixed
veggies for a filling, satisfying and high-nutrient meal.

Burrito Bowl

Dinner Suggestions

Create a burrito bowl with brown rice, your favorite beans, vegetables and salsa.

Vegetarian Pasta

Add New Dishes Weekly

Gradually add new vegetarian dishes to your menu each week such as Meat-Free Chili, Veggies and Pasta, or
Vegetable Stew.

Couple standing in kitchen

Protein Sources

Everything you eat contains some amount of protein – even the fruits and vegetables. Talk with your
doctor if you have concerns. There is a variety of meat-substitute foods available in grocery stores and restaurants.