Meatless Monday has been an initiative that has continued to grow in popularity as many of us become more health and environmentally conscious. While you don’t need to switch the a completely plant based diet to be healthy, incorporating one day or a few meals a week with whole, plant based ingredients can be beneficial for sustainability and environmental purposes, your health, and many times your wallet. While animal proteins can provide us with a wide range of necessary nutrients, many of these we can gain from plant sources as well (other than Vitamin B-12). We can still get iron (although less bioavailable), omega-3s, and proteins from plants! Although many plant based proteins require a combination of two foods to provide all the necessary amino acids, there are some plant protein sources that are complete proteins (including soy beans/edamame, buckwheat, spirulina,pumpkin seeds, and quinoa to name a few! Some combination options that also provide a complete source of protein include rice and beans, hummus and pita, and peanut butter toast on whole grain bread are all great combination options! Including a few plant based meals a week can also save you money as items like beans, rice, edamame, etc tend to be significantly less expensive then meat!
We have a recipe this week that is great for those moments where you don’t want to make a complicated meal and want to incorporate some plant based options. Our Hatch Chili Bean and Rice Bowl!
- normal size can of black beans
- 1 cup of cooked rice (white or brown- note brown rice will add an increased nutrient benefit)
- 1/4 cup hatch chili salsa
- 2 cups of spinach
- 1 TBSP of lemon juice (organic fresh squeezed- no added ingredients/sugar)
- Use spinach as a base (can heat with other ingredients or can heat other ingredients separately and serve spinach cold)
- Place one cup of cooked rice in bowl and add 1 TBSP of lemon juice
- Add 1/2 can of black beans over rice
- Top off with 1/4 cup hatch chili salsa
- Heat and serve
*Note serving sizes can vary depending on individuals needs or hunger level
This recipe provides a well balanced, plant based meal that tastes delicious and is very convenient to make requiring minimal effort! By introducing more plant based options into your lifestyle you are increased fiber consumption and decreasing some of the inflammatory effects of eating too much dense, high fat protein options. Begin trying to incorporate some of these whole food, plant based options into your eating habits and see what your results are. Make sure that if you decide to follow a completely plant based diet that you work with a Registered Dietitian and utilize proper research to ensure you are making choices and utilizing supplementation that allow you to still meet your nutrient needs (rather than replacing animal protein with a couple processed vegan products and hoping for the best).
Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think!
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Wishing you a year of health and wellness!
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”