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Report: Americans Want to Eat Less Meat and More Vegetables (But Just Aren't Yet)

Last week, NPR released a study which revealed that while many Americans know they should eat less red meat, the average consumption has barely budged in the last three years. This, despite numerous proclamations and warnings about meat's impact on our environment and your health.

What are those warnings, you ask? Last year, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization affirmed that consuming processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer. While red meat showed a lower risk, based on limited evidence, it still showed that it was “probably carcinogenic to humans." Additionally, reports link meat consumption, specifically red meat, to significant environmental impacts (livestock guzzle millions of gallons of water and release a vast amount of greenhouse gases).

Couple that with the fact that beef prices are at an all-time high, thanks to droughts in the Midwest, a record shortage of cattle, and an increase in demand, and it seems the time has never been more right for Americans to kick meat off their plate.

Unfortunately, while many people read this news and reacted verbally, little change has actually been made. As the study showed, Americans say they want to eat less meat and more vegetables but aren't. Could it be that patterns are hard to break, or that people are just unaware of the different protein sources that are available other than meat?

Good news! We can help.

When it comes to eating less meat and more veggies, getting the daily recommended amount of protein sans meat, or creating a balanced meal plan throughout the week, we've got you covered. In fact, we're quite good at all of those things. Here are some of our favorite meals that give you a hearty dose of protein and veggies in one plate.

Fist up, we have a vegan dish that packs in a whopping 21.4g of protein in one serving. Lentils are a great source of protein and happen to taste incredible when prepared properly. Here, they're paired with roasted carrots, then topped with a bright and tangy green harissa.

Whole Roasted Carrots with Black Lentils and Green Harissa

Next, we have a delicious twist on the Classic Chicken Marsala, which typically has a much higher meat-to-veg ratio. We place the creamy mixture on a bed of whole-grain and protein-rich quinoa, then top with a generous dose of mushrooms and spinach.

Mushroom and Chicken Marsala Bowls

Instead of serving up a large portion of ground beef in pasta sauce like many traditional versions, we topped our whole-grain pasta with a veggie-packed sauce made from unsalted diced tomatoes, extra-lean ground beef, mushrooms, and zucchini. It keeps all of the comforting goodness, yet packs in a delicious dose of veggies in every bite.

Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Veggi-fied Meat Sauce

Switch up your average steak and potatoes for this leaner, greener salad. You still get a satisfying serving of steak and potatoes while you fill your plate with healthy veggies as well.

Steak Salad Niçoise

Easy, fast, and incredibly satisfying—burgers are just so perfect sometimes. This veggie burger brings you all three of those qualities sans the beef. Make the patties ahead of time, freeze them, then pop 'em in the oven when you're ready for a delicious burger in flash. If you find yourself eating burgers more than once a week, you definitely want to save this recipe and put it in on repeat.

"New" New Mexican Green Chile Cheeseburgers

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