Meatless week is complete! Overall, it wasn’t as terrible as we thought it would be. There are lots of ways to make filling meals and snacks without meat products. They may not be as delicious or easy to make, but we are sure tastes change and things become easier with practice. As our first foray into the meatless world we were pleasantly surprised.
Our daily breakfasts were not really affected too much. We don’t always eat meat with our breakfast. Joshua likes to toss some bacon bits in with his usual egg and cheddar cheese fare. This week Joshua skipped the meat, kept the eggs, and added some peanut butter toast to round out his meal. Bethany usually enjoys sausage links with her breakfast of cottage cheese and PB toast. This week she was fine with just the cottage cheese and toast.
Lunches were a bit more of a challenge, but we managed it with vegan black bean burgers from Aldi, as well as rice and beans. Josh actually did a 24-hour fast starting Monday night and carrying over into Tuesday. So he didn’t need lunch that today. He did, however, go out to eat on Thursday for lunch. He ordered chicken nachos without the chicken. Instead he asked for extra bell peppers. He missed the chicken in the dish, but he was surprised to find the nachos were still delicious!
Dinner was the meal we were most nervous about, but we found a way to survive. Every other week we eat salads the first three weeknights. We love salad, and this has made our bi-weekly meal planning much easier. This was the case for meatless week, which was a blessing. We love salads and their variety of topping options, including pickles, roasted corn and black beans, peanuts, homemade tortilla chips, and diced bell peppers. But we definitely missed having bacon bits, chopped ham, or chicken in our salads to give them a boost. They were still good, but not quite as filling.
The other nights saw dinners of tofu and homemade pizza. Bethany enjoyed the challenge of preparing tofu for the first time. For dinner Thursday she made Mexican “meat” for tacos and it turned out surprisingly well! She found the key was drying the tofu in a dish towel for a long time. She also sauteed garlic and onion before tossing the tiny bits of tofu in the pan. The tofu was not as absorbent of flavor as ground turkey, which is what we usually use for tacos. But it was still very yummy and a great meat replacement!
We used the tofu taco meat to top our rice bowls. It was a little bland, but paired with some homemade salsa and hot sauce the flavors were pretty solid. Joshua even took tofu the next day for his lunch. He says the secret is using enough ingredients to hide the lack of flavor and the odd texture of tofu. (Bethany clearly liked it better than Josh!)
This week was interesting to say the least. We realized that meat is not required to make every meal complete. At the same time, we noticed an increase in the amount of carbohydrates we were eating throughout the week. It was tough to find good sources of protein without increasing the amount of fats and carbs we were consuming.
In the future we may look to incorporate some meatless meals every now and again, but we are looking forward to having meat back on the menu.
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