A conversation with a fellow mom lamenting the high cost of eating meat for each meal recently reminded me of how we started down our WW path (view the article to understand our family perspective on food and budgeting). In short, we try to find a healthy balance between our wallet and our waistlines when making decisions about food. Grocery spending is something that can add up quickly if you aren’t thoughtful and the recent decision for me to become a stay-at-home mom has made sticking to a budget more important than ever. Looking over our receipts, it was easy to determine that eating meat every day was our most expensive habit…$5.00 for ground turkey for turkey burgers, $6.00 for steak to go in our stir fries, $6.00 for chicken breasts to go in our enchiladas. It was pricey compared to a bag of red beans for $2.00 which can be the base for up to three meals.
Then about two years ago a friend of mine introduced me to the concept of Meatless Monday (which I reference often on this site). I remember my initial reaction to Meatless Monday being “Why would I ever do that…”. We are an active family and I never thought there was a chance that we could be sufficiently fed by a non-meat-based meal. So I continued to resist meatless meals until about a year ago a friend of ours did a Meatless January challenge. At first I thought she was nuts until she came over for dinner during her meatless month and we wanted to serve something other than salad or pasta (which had previously been my notion for meatless options). Instead, my husband did some searches online and found a recipe for some awesome bean-based veggie burgers. They were flavorful, filling and had a great texture and soon became one of my favorite meals. From there we continued swapping out meat for beans, eggs and tuna (which I don’t really consider meat) and we have evolved to now only eating meat about twice a week.
Beyond a cost-saving standpoint, there are many health benefits to eating less meat. This article by the Mayo Clinic does a better job at outlining them than I would (and lets be honest, it is way more credible). I am not saying that I recommend going completely vegetarian (unless your ethics motivate you to do so), as I’ll never endorse a restrictive-based diet. I am simply saying that reducing the number of meat-based meals you consume per week will absolutely have a positive impact on both your waistline and wallet if you swap them out for lean protein like we have done. I am sure you have noticed that a lot of our recipes are meatless and I assure you they are nearly as good as their meat counterparts and just as filling. And of course a black bean burger is just not going to satisfy the juicy burger craving that ground sirloin can satisfy so it is important to treat yourself. But from a day-to-day basis, going meatless has has a great impact on our weekly shopping bill and our overall health.
Still not convinced? Here are two of our “meatless” dinners from this week which left me feeling full and were inexpensive. You can’t tell me these don’t look good!
Veggie and cheese omelet, garlic parmesan roasted sweet potatoes with a salad topped with avocado cheddar dressing.
Try some of our favorite meatless recipes to start your own WW journey today!
If you choose to take this journey with us, let us know how it is going in a comment below!