1 simple diet change that will improve your family's health

Eating less meat is associated with a reduced risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Here are tips for becoming flexitarian (plus a recipe!)

Photo by Jodi Pudge

Are you still a little bit full from all that turkey? And those leftover turkey sandwiches? And let’s not forget the turkey soup. The holidays can leave us all feeling a bit stuffed, can’t they? In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, we’re introducing you to our favourite: flexitarianism.

Whether you go meatless Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, taking meat out of your meal plan just one day a week is one of the best moves you can make for your family’s health.

There’s plenty of science to back up the trend toward part-time vegetarianism. But going without meat one day each week won’t help if you don’t replace it with great health promoters like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Even so, meatless meals don’t have to be the poached-tofu-over-steamed-lentil nightmares of confirmed carnivores. In fact, dipping your toe in the waters of vegetarian cooking can open up a whole new world of dinner options. Plus, while your kids are at your table (and somewhat under your influence!), it’s great to establish that a meal doesn’t need to equal meat plus two veg.

5-Veggie Burger

Make the hamburger tray a little easier on veggie kids (and their parents!) with these oh-so-good 5-veggie hamburgers!

Ingredients:
1 large sweet potato (about 450 g)
2 tsp butter
2 green onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups frozen green peas, cooked
and drained
11?2 cups grated zucchini (1 small)
11?4 cups grated carrots (2 medium)
2 eggs, beaten
1?2 tsp salt
11?2 to 2 cups dry, whole-grain bread crumbs
2 tbsp olive oil

Directions:
Peel sweet potato, halve and cook in boiling water until just tender, but still firm, about 15 min. Cool for a few minutes, then grate. You will need 1½ cups.

In a small skillet, warm the butter over low heat. Add the green onions and garlic, and cook until tender, about 2 min.

In a large bowl, mash peas. Add the green onion mixture, grated sweet potato, zucchini, carrot, eggs, salt and 1 cup of the bread crumbs. Combine well (your hands may be the best tools here!). Add more bread crumbs if the mixture is too wet.

Shape mixture into patties and lightly coat with remaining bread crumbs. You can make large 31?2-in. patties for adults and/or small 2-in. patties for children.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the patties and cook until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 min per side. Serve on whole-grain buns with preferred toppings.

Makes 8 large patties or 24 2-in. patties.

Adult burger: 209 calories, 7 g protein, 7 g fat, 30 g carbs, 6 g dietary fibre, 75 mg calcium, 2 mg iron, 56 mcg folate

Child burger: 70 calories, 2 g protein, 2 g fat, 10 g carbs, 2 g dietary fibre, 25 mg calcium,1 mg iron, 19 mcg folate