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Meatless Monday

Interview with Registered Dietitian Diana Rice, Spokesperson for The Kids Cook Monday 

We sat down with Registered Dietitian Diana Rice, Spokesperson for The Kids Cook Monday, to talk about the history of The Monday Campaigns and discuss the benefits of going meatless at least one day of the week. 

Can you tell us a little about The Monday Campaigns? 

The Monday Campaigns is a non-profit organization founded on a simple idea: to make Monday the day all health breaks loose! We started with the Meatless Monday campaign in 2003, but since that time have added campaigns to encourage additional health behaviors, such as exercising, cooking and eating with your family, quitting smoking and relieving stress. All of our work is based on research demonstrating that Monday is the day we each have health on the brain and are most willing to introduce a healthy new behavior. 

What are some health benefits of practicing Meatless Monday? 

The great thing about Meatless Monday is that it’s a simple way to remember to eat less meat even if you don’t plan to cut it out of your diet altogether. Diets that are low in meat and high in plant foods are associated with a number of health benefits such as reduced rates of obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Plus, eating less meat leaves more room in your diet for healthy nutrients like fiber and monounsaturated fats and also tends to be associated with meals that are lower in calories. 

Are there any other benefits to cutting out meat one day per week? 

The other great thing about participating in Meatless Monday is that it’s something people can do together. Many restaurants, schools and hospitals offer Meatless Monday specials to encourage their diners to go meatless together. It’s also a healthy habit that families can commit to together at home. 

What are some good protein sources to include in a meatless diet? 

Just because you’re skipping meat doesn’t mean you have to eat tofu, although tofu can be very good! Other tasty sources of protein for your meatless meals include beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains, even many vegetables like broccoli and mushrooms. If you include many of these sources in one dish, the protein really adds up and you won’t even miss the meat.  

Do you have a favorite recipe to make on Meatless Monday? 

Personally, I like to switch it up every week and try something new. But for beginners, I like to recommend something like a veggie lasagna that’s bound to be a crowd pleaser even without meat. There are hundreds of recipes available on the Meatless Monday website for newbies to explore! 

How can kids get involved in the kitchen on Mondays (or any day of the week)? 

When kids learn to cook, they are more likely to enjoy healthy foods like vegetables. Meatless Monday has a sister campaign called The Kids Cook Monday that encourages families to dedicate the first day of the week to cooking and eating together. The Kids Cook Monday’s website has lots of family-friendly recipes as well as tips on how to cook with kids, such as cooking tasks for different age groups. The campaign’s newsletter, The Family Dinner Date, is delivered every Friday so families can prepare for their Monday meal. And all of the recipes are vegetarian, so The Kids Cook Monday can be Meatless Monday, too! 

Explore Dole’s meatless recipes here! Our One Skillet Mushroom, Spinach and Kale Gnocchi makes an easy and tasty weeknight dinner.

Published February 1, 2017

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