3 Veggie-Boosting Tips for "Meat at Every Meal" Men
While it's true not every man feels the need to consume meat with every meal, in my own practice I meet a lot of women who report having a hard time making a switch to a more plant-based diet due to resistance from their husbands.
In my own experience as a military spouse who works primarily with military families, it seems like serving meat with every meal remains central to how Americans eat. This perception may be directly related to the misconception about meat being vital for athletes or for those who lift weights. And, since physical fitness is viewed as healthy, it can seem counterintuitive that cutting back on meat and boosting veggies can be healthy.
To counteract that feeling, here are three tips to get the most veggie-averse men to eat healthier.
Break Out the Grill
A barbecue is a summertime staple for family meals — but it's perfect for more than burgers and steaks. Use a grill basket to prepare zucchini, summer squash, peppers and onions for a nice side dish to any summer meal. Cut larger pieces of vegetables and use skewers to make veggie kebabs, which can become a more central part of a cookout meal. You can even grill portobello mushrooms or long strips of eggplant for a burger replacement.
Bulk Up with Beans
A big plate of cooked veggies can feel lacking. Use beans to boost protein in vegetable dishes and give more satiating power to the dish. With beans added, what was a side dish can become more of an entree. Serve with rice, pasta or potatoes and you have a truly satisfying meal.
Start Off with Salad
While soups work well for boosting veggies in winter, pre-meal salads are a great way to get in extra veggies in warmer months. Give your salad a grown-up makeover by using spinach, butterhead, kale and arugula. Add a variety of veggies in different colors: peppers, beets, broccoli, mushrooms and radishes are perfect to pair with classics such as tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Dress this delicious salad with something simple like olive oil and lemon juice.
Switching from more calorie-dense, high-saturated fat foods to more filling, fiber-rich, less calorie-dense vegetables can help with managing weight. Besides the health benefits that go along with losing those weight, a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk for multiple diseases, including heart disease, as well as help to control some health issues, such as diabetes and hypertension.
Melinda Boyd, MPH, MHR, RD, is a registered dietitian and military spouse living in England. She is co-author of Train Your Brain to Get Thin, and blogs at NutrFoodTrvl.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter.