“Meatless Mondays” started in February 2011 when Oprah challenged her staff to eat a vegan diet for a week. While focused on vegetarianism, this movement encourages people to go without meat for one day per week. The U.S. has the second highest meat consumption in the world at 270 pounds per person per year.

People choose to decrease their meat consumption for a variety of personal reasons based on the issues they believe in and care about. Some common meatless motivations include health concerns, animal rights issues, ethical beliefs, and consideration for the environment. Whatever your personal incentive, it’s hard to argue against the multitude of environmental benefits that can arise from eating less meat.

If every American went vegetarian for just one day this year, it would save:

– 100 billion gallons of water, which could supply all the houses in New England for almost 4 months

– 1.5 billion pounds of crops, which could supply the state of New Mexico for over a year

– 3 million acres of land, which is two times the size of Delaware

– 33 tons of antibiotics

– 1.2 million tons of CO2, which is the amount released by France

– 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in damages

– 4.5 million tons of animal excrement

– Nearly 7 tons of ammonia emissions

While it’s true that these environmental improvements can go hand in hand with a healthier body, one common concern about practicing Meatless Mondays is how to ensure that there is still enough protein in your diet. But not to worry, Kuli Kuli has you covered! Here are five foods that are high in protein and other nutrients that you can use to jumpstart your Meatless Mondays:

  • Quinoa – 8 grams of protein per cup, lots of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese; great substitute for rice
  • Chia – 4 grams of protein for every 2 tablespoons, tons of omega-3-fatty acids; good for use with fruit and sweet drinks
  • Buckwheat – 6 grams per cup, seeds can be ground into flour for pancakes!
  • Seitan – 21 grams per 1/3 cup, meat substitute
  • Moringa – of course! Tons of protein, vitamin A & C, potassium, and calcium

Good luck with Meatless Mondays!