April 21, 2016

Cooking Light editors are counting down to Earth Day with simple and effective ways they’ve eliminated waste and cut back on resource usage. In this series, each editor will talk about One Green Thing they’ve done in their own home, office, or general life to hopefully make our planet just a little bit healthier.

Earth Day coming around makes us all think about our ecological impact. Am I recycling enough? Could I carpool more often to work? Will shorter showers save the baby polar bears?

There's actually an easy way to consistently help the environment (and yourself): go meat-free one day a week. Meatless Monday has become a trendy way to go green, but you can choose whatever day of the week works best for you.

While the meat-lovers amongst us may be clutching their steaks in defiance, it's an easy change to make when you realize that skipping one steak a week can have the same impact as taking your car off the road for nearly three months.

Still not convinced? Passing on one burger a week saves enough energy to charge your phone for 4.5 years. 

Here are a few of our best tips for being a successful occasional vegetarian:

Start Your Day with ProteinChoosing a meal that has a good protein content will make you feel full longer and give you fuel to make it through the day. Pick meals that incorporate ingredients like whole grains, Greek yogurt, or eggs to have a hearty breakfast. Some good options include overnight bulgur bowls, chocolate buckwheat waffles, or make-ahead shakshuka.

Try Different TechniquesVegetables can be prepared a variety of ways, and those who abhor steamed broccoli may come to find that they love it when roasted. Try eating vegetables that are raw, sautéed, roastedsteamed, or grilled.

Skip the SaladWell, you don't have to skip salad if that's what you want to eat. But for those not used to cooking without meat, going without it for three consecutive meals can be a daunting task that may end with them eating lettuce all day. Things become easier though once you realize that meatless meals go far beyond salad, including dishes like pasta, tacos, sandwiches, stir fry, and more! For inspiration, look through our list of 100 vegetarian meals.

Branch Out with CuisinesAmerican cuisine, for the most part, is very meat-and-potatoes. Branching out into different world cuisines can not only open your palate to new ingredients and flavors, but it prevents you from quickly entering a food rut with your new vegetarian meals. Some cuisines that are vegetarian-friendly include Indian, Ethiopian, Latin American, and more!

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