Meatless Monday is not a new concept, but it is becoming an increasingly common one in even the most bacon-loving family kitchen as people look to save money, calories and maybe even the planet.
While we are still eating more meat than nearly any other country, per capita meat intake in the United States has dropped 12 percent in the past five years, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates.
A Harvard study recently touted the many health benefits of eating less red meat, finding that eating red meat every other day, instead of daily, can substantially reduce heart disease risk.
But it’s not just health. The Meatless Monday campaign says it saves money, both in doctor bills by reducing health risks, and because meals built around vegetables, beans and grains tend to be less expensive. As for the environment, the water and fossil fuel needs of livestock are much greater than those of vegetables and grains. One fewer burger a week for a year would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles, a 2011 Environmental Protection Agency study estimated.
The message is getting through. Some 41 percent of home cooks say they are trying to cut back on meat, according to an online survey by the Meatless Monday campaign.