One of the easiest ways to cut down on your grocery bill each month is to serve meatless meals a few days a week, which both saves you money and boosts your health. If your family isn’t used to it, though, you need to find some fantastic dinner recipes to win them over. Here are a few ideas:
- Macaroni & Cheese: This Mac & Cheese Casserole has protein from cottage cheese and sharp cheddar. The consistency is different than regular mac & cheese, but my kids love it. I use high-protein quinoa pasta (because it’s gluten-free), but you can also use whole wheat pasta or Barilla Plus for extra nutrients.If you want a more traditional Mac & Cheese, make your own cheese sauce and leave out the preservatives and junk from the processed versions.
- Greek Salad: Any restaurant-style salad can be made at home for less money and in a healthy portion size. We load up on romaine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and black olives (I leave the red onions out for the kids), with a sprinkle of Feta cheese on top.
- Soups: So many delicious soups have a vegetable base or can be made with chicken/beef broth with the meat left out. This Slow Cooker Minestrone is easy to throw together, and tastes fantastic. Corn & Potato Chowder is one of my family's favorites, too. You can make your own combination of broth, vegetables, and grain (pasta or rice), and then include beans for added protein without fat. This Slow Cooker Summer Harvest Soup recipe is a great example.
- Beans & Rice: Whether it’s a Mexican version or a Cajun recipe, there are so many ways to vary the complete protein from this classic combination. I make this Fiesta Corn and Black Bean Toss often and mix it with brown rice or quinoa for a complete (gluten-free) meal. It tastes even better cold for lunch the next day, after the flavors have melded even more.
By eating meatless meals once or twice a week, you’ll be encouraging healthy eating with your family, helping the environment, and saving money in the process. I find great inspiration from the Meatless Monday linkys at Midnight Maniac and My Sweet and Savory. Both of those sites are great resources for meatless recipes.
Original image from Martin Cathrae at Flickr