Editorial: Consider other healthy options if meat is slim

Published 8:30 pm Friday, May 8, 2020

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In light of strains on sectors of the food market because of temporary closures of processing plants tied to COVID-19 outbreaks, it has never been more important to think outside of the box when planning meals for you and your family.

The meat sections of some local grocery stores are emptying quickly and others are limiting the amount of meat that can be purchased. If you cannot purchase meat from other local meat markets or farmers, now would be a perfect time to look into more plant-based meals or meals with beans or alternative protein sources.

According to Mayo Clinic, reducing meat intake can have a protective effect, reducing risk of death from heart disease, stroke or diabetes. 

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The American Heart Association states beans are high in minerals and fiber without the saturated fat found in some animal protein, and eating them may help improve blood cholesterol, a leading cause of heart disease. Adding beans to your diet may help keep you feeling full longer, the association states. Another perk is that they are inexpensive.

Gardening season is also soon upon us, and it would be worthwhile to consider planting a small garden in your own yard or through a community garden — not only for fresh produce this summer but possibly for the future, as well.

Maintaining a garden not only produces healthy foods, but it can also limit stress, build immunity and provide the opportunity for exercise. According to WebMD, gardening can burn between 200 and 400 calories per hour. In addition, community gardens can be a way to engage with others in the community.

If you plant a large enough garden, leftover vegetables can be frozen or canned for use at a later time, providing you the reassurance that you will have food available if you need it.

Remember, there are many options if current conditions lead you to planning more meatless dinners.