Fall Produce Livens Up Meatless Monday

Whether trying to reduce your carbon footprint, lower cholesterol or protect heart health by eating less red meat, embracing Meatless Monday can help jumpstart a nutritious weekly meal plan that focuses more on vegetables, beans, legumes or tofu. And now that fall has officially arrived, it’s also the season for hearty soups and stews that will give your Instant Pot a workout.

By eating in-season local produce, shoppers can save money when certain vegetables or fruits are in abundance. Seasonal produce sourced locally also has time to ripen naturally and can be enjoyed when nutrition and flavor are at their peak. Meals built around vegetables, legumes and whole grains are generally lower in calories and fat, helping older adults reduce their risk for heart disease and possibly shed a few extra pounds. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who eat red meat have an increased risk of death from diabetes, heart disease, or stroke.

A healthy Mediterranean style diet, which limits red meat and focuses on fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grain and fats from seafood, nuts and seeds repeatedly comes out on top as the best overall food plan to promote health and well-being while lowering the risk for chronic health problems. Shopping local farmers’ markets also reduces transportation of produce, helps support local growers and lowers the “food mileage” burden on the environment.

After scanning the web for vegetarian comfort foods that would help make the shift to eating a more plant-based diet palatable and not too labour-intensive, this recipe for Instant Pot Mushroom Stroganoff found at Feasting at Home, led the pack. And what fall meal plan would be complete without a Roasted Butternut Squash Soup?

Dust off your pressure cooker, crockpot or blender and give more vegetables the starring role in your next dinner!