Well, we survived! 31 days without meat. 31 days full of whole grains and lots of fruits and vegetables! Its been over a week since our month of meatless meals ended so I thought I'd provide you with a little update.
I still haven't had any meat. Christian... well he's another story. We were in Steamboat on February 1st and after a day of skiing, he dug into his favorite summer sausage. Our friend claims that his eyes rolled back in his head upon first bite... he definitely missed his meat. That night, I was in charge of dinner so I made sure to include a vegetarian AND meat option -- a big pot of beef chili. The funniest part -- Christian scooped up a big bowl of Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili and didn't even notice he didn't have meat! Proof that some meals are just as good without the beef.
Panko Crusted Salmon (make this tonight! so easy and amazing!). I think my body needed it. Christian was equally as happy and said the meal was "PHENOMANAL". Then last night, I had tilapia. I still haven't had any chicken or beef cravings but I think these foods will come back into our meal rotation once I start craving them. I only say "I" since I do most of the cooking and grocery shopping. Although, Christian can make a mean salad and that got us through a lot of nights this past month! He's also a fab sous chef, especially on taco nights.
Going back to why we did this. Well, we both love a good challenge. It was definitely a challenge for Christian and he did great. It was a challenge for me in terms of creativity and learning new recipes. I loved it! I also wanted to see if we'd save money. Our grocery trips included lots of produce, beans, grains, nuts, dried fruit, yogurt and cheese (remember, we didn't go vegan..). Did we save money? Yep -- about $150 on average for the month. That's nuts! This is in part due to the price of meat but I was also very diligent about meal planning this month. I think that helped us save more than anything. I also read a great post on Green Kitchen Stories about Eating Healthy on a Budget. It is possible!!
So... the verdict? Like I said before, meat will be making a return in our household. I've already discovered that its way too difficult to meal plan and include a meat and vegetarian option every night. We'll still put a heavy focus on plant-based meals but I want to keep my little family happy and satisfied when we sit down to dinner every night :)
I do want to make it clear that we did eat some really great meals. Some of our favorites went undocumented. We had numerous pizza nights -- homemade crust rocks. Make a big batch, divide into individual portions and freeze. Homemade falafel with tahini sauce and Greek fries also made an appearance numerous times over the past month. Any veggies with peanut sauce and grains was also a go-to. Lastly, a variety of homemade veggie burgers and tacos, of course -- always a win. Just to be clear, these meals were our favorites. As for my favorites, I loved everything and could eat a big bowl of White Bean and Kale Soup or Indian Enchiladas all winter long.
Although school is in full swing for me and things are going to be a little quieter around here, we're still eating great meals every night and I'm still meal planning. I just have a little less time to document the process. I am going to try to keep posting recipes though, especially if its a recipe worth sharing!