I’ve thought about cutting back on meat for a while now. Not having everyone in the family on board with this idea is a problem. Being the problem solver that I am, I set out to think of ways to help realize this goal and still have a happy family. I came up with a few easy ideas.

For a casserole use half as much meat and increase the vegetables. You still get some meat for flavor and the fiber in the veg will fill you up. You can also increase all of the other ingredients, but I find if I only increase the veg it doesn’t seem to alter the recipe as much, as far as the liquid goes.

Use chopped mushrooms. If you like mushrooms, they have a meaty texture and taste great with ground meat. Use them to stretch burgers, meatloaf or chop fine and add to stretch the meat you would use in tater tot casserole.

Use whole grains. Use brown rice or oatmeal in a meatloaf, meatballs or to add more body to a casserole or taco filling. Use mostly brown rice and chopped veggies in stuffed peppers and stuffed cabbage rolls.

Beans. When making chili increase the beans. Add several kinds and colors of beans. Add beans to sloppy joes and tacos.

Use a soy substitute (TVP) in casseroles.  Try using half regular ground beef and half of the substitute first to see if they even notice. There are many meat alternatives available to “take the place” of some of your favorite foods. I happen to love Amy’s California Burgers. Saute some mushrooms, onions, top with baby spinach and serve on a whole grain bun. Yum.

Roast a chicken or turkey and shred the meat to use in things instead of meat being the main course. Then boil the bones to make soup. You can get many meals out of just one bird this way. You could serve the parts like the legs, wings and thighs with the first meal. Shred the rest to use in casseroles, enchiladas, tacos, chili, maybe even a bbq chicken pizza, or some wraps with lots of veggies.

Gradually serve smaller portions of meat while increasing the vegetable serving size and use smaller plates.

What do you do to cut back on meat servings for your health or to save?

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