There’s nothing like the vibrant, sweet taste of vegetables fresh picked from your own garden. And now’s the perfect time to get started. Whether it’s a window box herb garden or a tilled backyard plot, growing your own veggies is deliciously satisfying. So let’s dig in and get our hands dirty.
Find Your Sunny Side. Vegetables love sun, at least six hours of direct sun each day. The more sunlight they soak up, the bigger the harvest – and the more flavorful the harvest!
Dark, Rich Soil. Consider using commercial potting soil or enrich the dirt yourself using compost. Keep the soil loose and loamy so the plants can easily root.
Go to Seed. It’s always worth springing for high-quality seed. Do a little online research to see which companies have good customer reviews. Quality seed delivers better quality results – in abundance and taste.
Plot Your Garden Size. If it’s your first garden, 16×10 feet is a manageable size and is large enough to grow vegetables for a family of four for the summer. Live in the city? Don’t feel left out. Try growing fresh herbs in a window box or pot.
Water, Weeds and Bugs. Luckily, plants aren’t overly needy. Just a little bit of water and plenty of sun keeps them happy. Make watering a regular part of your routine and sprinkle just enough so the top soil stays moist. Lastly, keep an eye out for weeds or insects that could harm your crop. Other than that, sit back and enjoy watching them sprout and grow.
What and When to Plant in your Area
Learn which veggies will thrive in your climate and when to plant to plant them – not to mention when they’ll be ripe for harvest. You’ll find the answers on this list of local state cooperative extensions. Year after year, the popular planting choices are tomatoes, zucchini squash, peppers, beets and carrots.
Want Fresh, ‘In Season’ Veggies without Gardening?
This online Seasonal Food Guide has got you covered. Just enter your state and you’ll find out what’s being picked right now – perfect for knowing what to expect at your local farmer’s market. You can also select the produce items you like and learn when they’re in season. Use this guide to plan your Meatless Monday recipes with fresh ingredients that are at the peak of flavor. And speaking of recipes, here’s one of our Meatless Monday springtime favorites. Enjoy!
It’s amazing how a good idea and some strong enthusiasm can make an incredible difference. Here’s proof. Just four years ago, Miki Haimovich decided to launch Meatless Monday in Israel. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Miki was a well-known and trusted figure in her country. She had worked as a TV news anchorwoman for nine years.
“When we brought the Meatless Monday global campaign to Israel four years ago, few people had heard of it. What’s more, most couldn’t understand why reducing meat consumption was an issue that needed to be addressed,” said Ms. Haimovich, “Things have come a long way since.”
Over Half a Million Meatless Monday Supporters
Based on a recent survey, nearly 65% of the Jewish population have now heard about Meatless Monday. More importantly, over 500,000 respondents say they are currently choosing not to eat meat one day a week. These results are particularly impressive because they were achieved only through public relations and word of mouth – not paid advertising.
Meatless Monday Embraced by Leading Israeli Organizations
The growing support for Meatless Monday is rooted in partnerships that have been developed at leading organizations, such as caterers Sodexo, ISS, Shultz and Idit, as well as health and environmental protection agencies and animal welfare organizations.
“We offer a win-win-win proposition,” said Or Benjamin, Meatless Monday campaign manager for the past year and a half, “Employees are happier because they get a greater choice of healthy foods. The service providers like it because plant-based meals cost less to make. And our country’s Corporate Social Responsibility officers are pleased because it reduces greenhouse gases.”
From left to right: Or Benjamin, campaign manager, Miki Haimovich, co-founder and Liat Zvi, co-founder.
Photo by Menash Cohen.
Gala Event to Celebrate Four Years of Meatless Monday
Late last February, partners, volunteers, friends and family attended a special Meatless Monday event held in Tel Aviv to celebrate the four-year anniversary. Awards were presented to leading partners, including Intel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Rabin Medical Center. This festive gathering doubled as a fund raiser to help finance future Meatless Monday campaign efforts. Catch up on their latest news on their Facebook page.
Get Involved. Join the Meatless Monday Movement
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in eating healthier and maybe helping to protect the environment. Why not take a moment and think if you know someone who might also share these interests. You could talk to them about Meatless Monday, or send them an email, or maybe forward this article. Like to know other ways you can help? Please get in touch with us at info@MeatlessMonday.org
Meanwhile, in honor of Israel’s four year Meatless Monday anniversary, here’s a one of our favorite traditional Jewish meatless recipes. Enjoy!
The Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) provides a full menu of support for disadvantaged youth. This worthy non-profit organization is dedicated to transforming lives through the culinary arts and preparing young people for college and careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Meatless Monday is proud to support C-CAP by sponsoring an annual recipe contest that awards student scholarships. This year’s theme “Oodles of Noodles” drew submissions from around the country and we’ve included the winning recipes below!
“We’re excited to team up with C-CAP for our annual recipe contest,” said Sid Lerner, founder of the Meatless Monday movement, “This year, we challenged C-CAP students to convert traditional noodle recipes into meatless versions. And the winning recipes are stellar.”
Before we announce this year’s winners, we’d like to say thanks to a great panel of judges for donating their time and talents: New York-based Chef Maria Loi, the global ambassador of Greek gastronomy; Chef Mathew Kenney, renowned as pioneer in raw, plant-based cuisine; Chef Jet Tila, Royal Thai culinary ambassador; and Diana Rice, RD, and consulting recipe editor for Meatless Monday.
The Meatless Monday C-CAP “Oodles of Noodles” recipe winners are:
Grand Prize $5,000 Scholarship
Andrian Gonzalez, 12th Grade
Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, CA
Three Sisters Stuffed Squash dish:
Regional $2,000 Scholarships
Austin Neanover, 12th Grade
Glendale High School, AZ
Spicy Spaghetti with Roasted Vegetables
Azary Madrigal, 12th Grade
Curie Metropolitan High School, Chicago, IL
Devyn Shannon, 12th Grade
Charles Herbert Flowers High School, Washington, DC
Spicy Coconut Penne
Cashé Clark, 12th Grade
Virginia Beach Technical and Career Center, Hampton Roads, VA
Rainbow Pad Thai
Brayden Boscio, 12th Grade
Harry S. Truman High School, New York, NY
Goat Cheese Gnocchi with Tomato Mushroom Ragu and Wilted Spinach
Lauren Moore, 11th Grade
A.Phillip Randolph Career Academy, Philadelphia, PA
Each year, C-CAP holds a benefit event that brings together New York’s best chefs to serve a grand tasting of their signature dishes. Like a little taste of this year’s gala? Then watch our 2017 C-CAP highlights video.
Welcome to April, also known as Earth Month. At Meatless Monday, we love this time of year. As the weather turns warmer, our thoughts turn to dark, rich soil and a fresh crop of flavorful fruits and veggies.
As you may have noticed, the health of our planet is getting more attention these days. And that’s a good thing. More and more people are beginning to realize the substantial amount of energy and natural resources that are required to produce meat.
For instance, to produce a single ¼ lb. hamburger, you need 450 gallons of water.  (You read that right. It’s not a typo.) In other words, 7,200 glasses of water for just one burger!
No wonder we’re excited that so many people support Meatless Monday around the world. (We’re active in over 40 countries and counting!) Just by choosing to skip meat one day a week, you can make a real difference. In fact, The New York Times recently reported that Americans reduced their beef consumption 19% from 2005 to 2014. And less meat also means less heat. That’s because producing meat creates considerable greenhouse gases, which scientists believe are the primary cause of global warming.
In comparison, producing plant-based food requires far less natural resources. In fact, it takes less than 1/10th the energy to produce plant-based protein as opposed to meat-based protein – a practice that’s far more sustainable for our planet.
The official Earth Day is on Saturday, April 22nd, but the way we look at it, Earth Day is every day. And we encourage you to do your part. Choose not to eat meat at least one day a week. And if you want to help preserve and protect our planet, pass this article along to your friends and family. Together, let’s change the world for the better.
To get you in the mood for a new Spring harvest, here’s one of our favorite seasonal meatless recipes.
March is National Nutrition Month. So each week this month, we’re highlighting how certain foods can help improve specific health conditions. This is the fourth and final article in the series. Please share with friends and family who may be interested.
You’ve heard it many times from many different sources: doctors, talk shows, magazine articles, you name it. The way to stay healthy is to exercise regularly, watch your weight, get enough sleep and eat a sensible diet.
But what if, just by choosing the right foods to eat, you could actually live longer? That’s not science fiction. That’s science fact. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, diets with a high intake of animal protein (meat) were positively associated with cardiovascular mortality. This means death caused by heart attack, heart disease or stroke. Furthermore, this danger is even greater for individuals with at least one lifestyle risk factor, such as smoking, obesity, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. And the size of this study was remarkably comprehensive, – over 130,000 people from all walks of life participated.
“Eating more plants – vegetables, whole grains and legumes – and fewer animal products can help you live a longer, healthier life,” said Rebecca Ramsing, sr. program officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. “Taking meat off your plate a few days a week can make a long-lasting impact!”
On a brighter note, the study also indicates that diets with a high intake of plant-based protein – instead of meat – result in less deaths due to cardiovascular issues. This finding suggests the importance of the protein source you choose to eat regularly. In other words, people who choose more fruits, veggies, grains and nuts tend to be healthier and live longer.
With this good news in mind, we’ve picked out one of our favorite recipes to help you savor all life has to offer. Bon appétit.
March is National Nutrition Month. So each week this month, we’re highlighting how certain foods can help improve your health. This is the third article in the series. Please share with friends and family who may be interested.
For many adults, being time-pressed has become the norm. They’re driven to pack more into any given moment. With this mind, perhaps it’s no surprise that there’s a recent surge of interest in “superfoods” – plant foods that pack in more nutrition than other food items. Sure, this food trend is hot right now, but does the reality actually live up to the hype?
Turns out the answer is yes, as long as you’re consuming the right foods for the right reasons. According to Diana K. Rice, a registered dietitian who works with Meatless Monday, “Many plant-based foods pack in more fiber, minerals and fiber than other dietary choices,” said Rice. “So if you’re looking to improve the quality of your diet, it’s a great idea to rely on these foods over choices like processed carbohydrates and animal products.”
But don’t expect superfoods to deliver a miracle cure for your medical problems, cautions Rice. She explains, “No single food is going to help you lose weight, give you clearer skin or achieve whatever other health goal you’re after. The main reason to eat superfoods is that they are nutritious and convenient.”
One easy way to pack more superfoods into yoir diet is to adopt the practice of Meatless Monday. “When you choose not to eat meat one day a week, there’s a lot of room left in your diet to fill with nutrient-packed superfoods,” Rice said. “And when you try tasty new dishes containing plant-based superfoods on a Monday, you’ll be more likely to incorporate them into your diet over the rest of the week, too.”
To kick off your new Meatless Monday habit, Rice recommends these plant-based superfoods:
Peanuts: Not only is this plant-based source of protein highly affordable, it’s adored by the masses for its appealing flavor. In addition to seven grams of protein per one ounce serving, peanuts are a terrific source of folate and resveratrol – yes, the red wine nutrient! Found in whole peanuts (as well as grape skins), resveratrol is an antioxidant that’s linked to reduced rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Think outside the peanut butter sandwich with Peanut Noodles or Peanut Butter Chili.
Avocados: This fruit is a super substitute for animal products on Meatless Monday because its healthy fat content satisfies the same craving you might have for a juicy steak. But since the fats found in avocados are mostly heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, they’re doing your body a favor along with your tastebuds. Grill them and top with salsa for a new twist or try them with pasta in this Pea and Avocado Penne.
Kale: Sure, kale isn’t as trendy as it once was. Nowadays, foods like collard greens and Brussels sprouts are stealing the spotlight. However, kale rose to popularity for good reason – it scores a perfect 1000 on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, meaning that it packs in more nutrition per calorie than most other foods. In particular, it’s a great source of vitamins A, K, C and fiber. Give it a spin in this Forbidden Rice Salad or try a new variation on your lasagna with this kale-packed version.
Mushrooms: Not many foods pack in a hefty dose of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin. But one portabella mushroom can pack in 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D, which is more than half of the recommended daily intake level. They’re an especially good choice for people who are averse to sun or live in northern climates, plus they offer the crave-able “umami” flavor found in meat. Try them in Mushroom Tikka Masala or Mushroom Hemp Tartlets.
Tomatoes: No, not the pale pink slice that’s suspiciously topping your sandwich. We’re talking deep, dark red tomatoes – especially canned tomatoes – that are an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant that’s linked to heart health and reduced cancer risk. Pump up your lycopene intake with dishes like Shakshouka with Rainbow Chard and Tomato Parmesan Slow Cooker Soup.
March is National Nutrition Month. So each week this month, we’re highlighting how certain foods can help improve specific health conditions. This is the second article in the series. Please share with friends and family who may be interested.
It’s long been known that a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables is good for your physical health. Lower blood pressure and less risk of heart disease are among the many benefits. But did you know fruits and veggies can also be good for your mental health? Absolutely true. According to a recent study, higher consumption of fruit and vegetables may increase feelings of well-being, happiness and life satisfaction. In addition, the study participants who ate more fruits and vegetables tended to be more curious and more creative than those who didn’t.
“There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that dietary patterns emphasizing fruits and vegetables may be linked to better psychological health.[i] A recent study found that higher fruit and vegetable consumption may increase well-being, curiosity and creativity, possibly related to micronutrients and carbohydrate composition.[ii] This is probably related to the fact you are giving your body and brain more healthy vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber,” said Rebecca Ramsing, sr. program officer, Food Communities & Public Health Program at Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
This conclusion is supported by a separate study that found growing evidence that suggests that eating more fruits and vegetables is linked to better psychological health. So which foods help you feel happier, more creative and brimming with curiosity? Well, for starters, try roasted carrots and other root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams and squash. Also, fresh berries are highly recommended to lift your spirits – blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, take your pick! And to jump-start your good mood, we’ve got a special recipe that’s sure to make you smile.
[i]Rooney C, McKinley MC, Woodside JV. The potential role of fruit and vegetables in aspects of psychological well-being: A review of the literature and future directions. TheProceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2013; 72: 420–432. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003388
[ii] Conner TS, Brookie KL, Richardson AC, Polak MA. On carrots and curiosity: eating fruits and vegetables is associated with greater flourishing in daily life. Br J Health Psychol. 2015; 20(2):413-27.
Photo by Michelle Cehn
Kristie Middleton is always in motion. As the Senior Food Policy Director for the Humane Society of the United States, she’s a sought-after speaker on how to reform our global food system. Her work has been covered by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Politico and CNN, to name a few.
Even with her busy schedule, Kristie found time to write a new book, “MeatLess: Transform the Way You Eat and Live – One Meal at a Time.” It’s available starting tomorrow and it’s perfectly timed for National Nutrition Month in March.
In the book, Kristie details how you can begin eating less meat and dairy – without giving them up completely. If you think that sounds a lot like Meatless Monday, you’re right. Turns out Kristie is a big fan of Meatless Monday, as you’ll see in this interview. After all, the health benefits of choosing a more plant-based diet are inarguable. And it’s an added bonus that plant-based food is also much healthier for the planet.
Photo by Michelle Cehn
Kristie also shares inspirational stories from people who have lost weight and reached their health goals through plant-based eating. She includes deliciously satisfying recipes that anyone can make, plus offers tips and tricks on easy food swaps, where to dine out, and how to set and meet your health goals. Get a taste of what Kristie has in mind with this Noodles with Peanut Sauce recipe.
March is always one of our favorite times to sit down at the table. It’s National Nutrition Month, where good food and food that’s good for you are served on the same plate. This year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that you “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” encouraging parents to teach healthy eating habits to their children.
At Meatless Monday, we couldn’t agree more. The academy also suggests filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Of course, we believe in filling the whole plate with tasty veggies, fruits, nuts and whole grains. In fact, the nutrients in particular foods can actually help with certain health issues. So in celebration of National Nutrition Month, we’re going to spotlight specific foods each week that have a direct link in helping to reduce the risk of a chronic preventable disease. First up: Whole grains!
Heart Disease – Leading Cause of Death Among Women
You may remember hearing about this last month during the American Heart Association’s “Wear Red” event. It’s a serious health issue. Cardiovascular disease is listed as the underlying cause of nearly 801,000 deaths in the U.S. each year (about one of every three).
Whole Grains and Veggies Lower the Risk of Heart Disease
In a research study, health experts concluded an inverse association between dietary whole grains and cardiovascular disease. In other words, by eating more whole grains, you have less risk of developing heart disease. In a separate study, experts found that a higher consumption of fruit and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of all causes of death, particularly heart disease. Long story, short, whole grains and veggies are definitely heart smart.
Eat Healthy – and Tasty
Turns out you can have the best of both worlds: nutritious, flavorful veggies and wholesome tasty whole grains. See some of our favorite recipes below:
New Orleans, Louisiana is famous – and infamous – for good times, good music and good food. Revelers come from the four corners of the world to take part in the annual Mardi Gras celebration – a spectacular event with parades, street floats, lavish costumes and evening balls.
Mardi Gras literally translates to “Fat Tuesday.” This takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Traditionally, Fat Tuesday meant feasting and finishing all the rich, fatty foods before the 40-day religious observance.
Interestingly, the word “carnival” is derived from the Latin word “carnelevarium,” which means to take away or remove meat. This makes sense because many people choose to give up meat during Lent.
Not surprisingly, we’re okay with that. In fact, many of the classic Cajun and Creole dishes can be made without meat, yet still deliver all the zesty, mouth-watering flavors of the Crescent City.
From red beans and rice to gumbo to étouffée, spice up your Monday and strut your stuff with these meatless Mardi Gras recipes.