How’s your healthier eating resolution going? If you’ve had better intentions than follow-through, get back on the wagon this week with a change that won’t turn your life upside down: try having a Meatless Monday.
Diana Rice, a dietician with the Meatless Monday campaign, has plenty of suggestions to get you started. But she also speaks from experience when it comes to what will likely be your biggest obstacle (after cravings): the man in your life.
“My husband is from the South, and growing up he didn’t really think about the advantages of vegetarian anything,” she says. Bacon and eggs for breakfast, a ham sandwich for lunch and a steak for dinner was pretty standard.
And while you probably know that eating less meat can lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, a lecture about the health benefits of veggies might be the only thing less appetizing to him than trading steak for tofu.
But don’t give up hope. Rice, whose husband often serves as the “guinea pig” for her foodie experiments, shared some ideas to win him over.
1. Play up other flavors.“Pasta is such a versatile dish. It’d definitely be the place I’d start,” says Rice. Use cherry tomatoes instead of sauce from a jar, fresh basil instead of dried and really good cheese, and he’ll forget he’s not eating meat. Shop at a farmers market so you know you’re only buying what’s in season, when it tastes best, and talk tothe vendors to get ideas.
2. Don’t get crazy. “If you’re just starting out, don’t buy tempeh and try to make some really weird vegetarian thing that’s totally unfamiliar to you,” cautions Rice. Work your way up to it by starting with what you already know: chili with beans instead of ground beef or using sauteed mushrooms as the main part of a dish instead of a side.
3. Think like a guy. If your guy likes steaks, try making a vegetable steak: Cut a 1-inch-thick slice out of the middle of a cauliflower, brush it with olive oil and grill it, then serve it with some A1 sauce. “Having the vegetable be a standalone in the same way we might expect the steak or a piece fish to be can help us overcome that mentality that there is something lacking from the meal,” says Rice.
4. Chef's choice.Most guys still aren’t doing the cooking, so if they’re hungry they’ll probably eat what’s in front of them. So don’t be afraid to try something just because you think he won’t like it.“A lot of times what I’ll do is tell [my husband], ‘What we’re having for dinner is a really great pasta dish,” Rice says. "It just doesn’t happento have any meat in it."