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Meatless Mondays—once a week, let veggies shine

Make a change for the environment and your health—think about going vegetarian one day a week, without missing out on protein or piling on the carbs.

The Meatless Monday and VB6 (vegan before 6:00pm) movements aim to shift our thinking away from meat as the center of the meal—with the intent of improving people's health as well as the environment.

Let's start by saying we're not anti-meat. We wanted to think about how eating can affect a person's carbon footprint.

Meat and the environment
As it turns out, the impact of meat production can be pretty great. For example, it takes about 300 pounds of grass or grain feed, and about 2,000 gallons of water, to produce one pound of beef.1,2 In addition those lost resources, manure, fertilizers and other factors contribute significantly to greenhouse gases.2 So if we all cut back a little, we can have a very real, positive effect.

Meat and your health
Meat can be a great source of protein, but many Americans eat about 1.5 times the average protein requirement. Plus, as protein sources go, meat can be high in fat and cholesterol.2 Of course, for many people with diabetes, eating lean protein is key to keeping blood sugar in line. But it makes sense to try to mix up the types of protein we eat.

Shifting away from meat
Whether you want to try going vegetarian one day a week, or you'd like to try cutting out animal products before 6pm, the key is to find satisfying alternatives that don't send your blood sugar flying. Sticking with whole grains and beans or lentils can help, as they take longer to digest. Including healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado can also help you feel full.3  

Feeling inspired? Check out the Meatless Mondays site or Pinterest boards for meal ideas.

Interested in more food tips?

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1Time. The triple whopper environmental impact of global meat production. Available at: Accessed April 30, 2016.

2Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Health and environmental implications of U.S. meat consumption and production. Available at: Accessed April 30, 2016.

3Diabetes Self-Management. Adopting a vegetarian meal plan. Available at: Accessed April 30, 2016.

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