October 26, 2021 Written by Brad Russell

5 Benefits of Eating Less Meat

To eat with less meat, it's important to include more plant protein

Have you ever heard the term “meatless-Monday”? This concept of having at least one meat-free meal a week may lead to a variety of surprising benefits.

Here are the top five benefits of reducing your meat intake.


1. To Boost Energy Levels

Think coffee is the only way to increase your energy? Surprisingly, consuming less meat may be another way to experience more energy.

Meat can be harder to digest than plant-based foods such as leafy greens, fruits, and veggies. When your body isn’t spending as much energy on digestion, that leaves more energy for you!

Try having a meatless meal one day a week and see if you feel any differently after. It may surprise you!


2. To Save Money

Meat can put a strain on the wallet. Whole, non-processed foods can be an affordable way to reduce the amount you spend on groceries.

To save money on groceries, next time you are at the store, try focusing on:

  • Colourful fruits and vegetables that are in-season
  • Buying beans, rice, and pasta in bulk
  • Avoid buying processed or pre-packaged items
  • Make a list and stick to it

Avoid buying processed or pre-packaged items.


3. To Help The Planet

Did you know parts of the Amazon rainforest are being cut down to make space for cattle to graze? Animal agriculture also contributes to a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions (14.5%) from all the exhaust from transportation.

Cutting back on the amount of meat you eat can help reduce your carbon footprint and help support the environment.


4. To Support A Healthy Weight

Along with boosting your energy levels, helping the environment, and saving money, cutting back on your meat intake may also help you lose weight.

Plant-based diets generally feature fewer saturated fats and fewer calories compared to diets rich in meat and animal products. Consuming fewer calories while eating more fibre and nutrients is an excellent approach for working toward your weight loss goals.

The possible health benefits of limiting meat and eating more plant-based likely stem from a higher intake of beneficial plant compounds such as:

  • Fibre
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients
  • Polyphenols

It is important to note that skipping meat but loading up on refined carbs, highly processed foods, or excess salt or sugar will not offer you the same benefits as a diet rich in plant-based, whole foods.

Consuming fewer calories while eating more fibre and nutrients is an excellent approach for working toward your weight loss goals.


5. It Could Improve Your Gut Health

Eating a diet rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and other plant-based foods in place of meat translates to a diet that is higher in fibre.

Fibre feeds good bacteria in the gut. These “friendly bacteria” play key roles in supporting your overall health.

Polyphenols, the beneficial compounds found in many plant foods, may also play a crucial role in supporting a healthy gut.

Additionally, some studies suggest that animal proteins may promote the growth of less healthy bacteria in the gut.

The gut microbiome is extremely complex and there is still so much to learn, but eating a diet full of plant foods may play an important role in nourishing the healthy bacteria in the gut.


Easy Tips For A Healthy Diet

Additional tips for eating healthy include:

  • Limit foods that are high in sodium and unhealthy fats such as trans fats
  • Limit refined foods such as white flour or white bread
  • Avoid or limit sugary drinks
  • Limit high sugar treats
  • Avoid highly processed foods (Even though something is labelled ‘sugar-free’, ‘vegan’, ‘gluten-free’, or ‘vegetarian’, it does not automatically make that product healthy. Always read labels carefully and choose products with clear, short ingredient lists.)

Limit foods that are high in sodium and unhealthy fats such as trans fats


Tips For Eating Less Meat

Here are a few easy ways to reduce your meat intake:

  • Try adding more plant-based protein sources to your diets such as quinoa, lentils, nuts, nut butter, chickpeas, black beans, seeds, and tofu
  • Get creative and experiment with different plant-based food swaps such as using lentils in place of half of the ground meat in tacos
  • Try one new plant-based food each week
  • Search the internet for new plant-based recipes to try such as lentil sloppy joes


Final Thoughts

Reducing your meat consumption may lead to multiple benefits, from helping the environment to helping you reach your weight loss goals.

You do not need to cut meat completely out of your diet to reap health benefits. It’s all about balance and consistency.

Focus on eating a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense, whole food and enjoying a variety of foods.

Have you ever tried a “meatless Monday meal”? Do you have any favourite plant-based recipes? We’d love to hear from you!