Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Go flexitarian: A three-week plan to eat less meat

[CNN] Cutting down on animal protein does more than slash calories -- it lowers your cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as your risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The vegetables, legumes, and whole grains that will replace the meat help shield you from developing these chronic diseases, too. "Plants are nature's pharmacy," says Kate Geagan, RD, author of Go Green Get Lean ($5, amazon.com). "They're brimming with protective nutrients and antioxidants that you just can't get from animals." You don't have to go full vegetarian -- our plan ups your plant protein without depriving you of that Saturday-night steak.
"Meat can have a place on your plate if you're passionate about that -- just shift the proportions," says Geagan. Here's how to nail the balancing act. 
Shop for substitutes: Stock up on at least three foods that can replace meat in many dishes. "Mushrooms, beans, and chickpeas are my go-tos," says Elle Penner, RD, a dietitian and blogger.
Combine proteins: In as many meals as you can this week, swap half the meat with an equal serving of plant protein; mix chickpeas with half the usual amount of chicken, say, or black beans with half the ground beef.
Trim the bacon: Reduce your intake of sausages and bacon big-time. "They contain a ton of sodium, preservatives, and fat," says Penner. Read More