How do we eat sustainably without getting bored??

[deleted account] ( 9 moms have responded )

We're trying as a family to cut back on meat-based dinners. We know that consuming meat every night is bad for the environment and we are hearing more and more about the cruel way these animals are raised and slaughtered... (anyone see Food Inc?)

The problem is, it gets hard to have a really varied menu, especially in the winter, with few (good) fresh fruits and veggies available. Do we have to have pasta every night? And we're not eggplant fans, either! ALSO - soy and other tofu doesn't seem to be that much better than meat in some regards, most of it is genetically modified and the farms are often detrimental to the environment!

Any good recipes to share? Any tips?

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Michelle - posted on 04/05/2010




My family has recently made some diet changes also :-) I use an internet site thats called , you can make an account for free and they have thousands of recipes! you can create a cookbook and store the one's that sound good. It has been a life saver for us. You'll love it. Good luck, with time it will become easier.

Amy - posted on 04/04/2010




I've also decided to try to cook healthier food and try to keep it realistic within the last month or so. I don't have too many recipes, but hopefully this will add some variety. I use my Magic Bullet a lot for one of the recipes and I can see how I could use it for the second recipe, but I'm sure a blender or food processor would work just as well.

I make a Yellow Crookneck Squash Soup that I absolutely LOVE and it would probably go well with Egg Salad sandwich. Since you did state that you are concerned about the welfare of animals, I don't know if you've considered getting cage free eggs versus regular eggs. There is a difference believe it or not. A friend of mine that is a farmer told me that the chickens on the very large farms are kept in very small bins and they are basically on top of one another. The droppings go from cage to cage. The cage free birds can roam freely and eat bugs which obviously the ones in the cages can't eat bugs. He swore that there is a difference in the way that the cage free and the regular eggs tasted. I didn't believe him in regard to the taste, but I did compare the two eggs and there is a slight difference in taste atleast to me. I have switched almost completely to just egg whites because I want to eat healthier and I find it simpler with a baby around to be able to make scrambled eggs this way.

Yellow Crookneck Squash Soup

1 1/2 lbs. Yellow Crookneck Squash
1 onion
1 stick margarine (I have put real butter w/o salt into this and it works also.)
2 chicken bouillon cubes (I use the chicken bouillon granules instead.)
2-3 cups of Half-and-half (I haven't tried soy milk in this, but you may be able to try that instead.)
dash of salt and pepper (I use sea salt instead of regular salt.)
curry powder

Slice squash and onions. Saute' in butter until very tender. Place in Magic Bullet, Food Processor, or blender with the bouillon and blend until smooth. Pour into saucepan and stir is half-and-half until you reach the desired consistency. (You could try Soy Milk in it's place, but I don't know how this would affect the taste of the soup.) Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of curry powder to taste. This may be served hot or cold.

I also make a lot of Spaghetti Squash and LOVE butternut squash in the microwave with brown sugar and butter put in the center of it! I haven't tried Eggplant since I was a child, but I might try it sometime. I know that Rachel Ray has a veggie lasagna recipe that I've seen her make with eggplant in it, but I haven't tried that in my own kitchen.

I haven't tried this spaghetti variation, but my friend uses it a lot. She will make spaghetti and add into the sauce blended up chickpeas instead of meat. I'm sure that you could add different types of beans that have been cooked and blended according to whatever taste you would like. I love to take a can of northern beans that have been drained along with rinsed and then add a little bit of dry ranch dressing to them. Pine nuts are good in many foods, but they tend to have oil that comes out if they are cooked over time.

I do agree with Constance in regard to the farmer's market. They have the freshest fruits and veggies in my area at the farmer's market. I can't buy a tomato that fresh anywhere else!

Lyndal - posted on 04/04/2010




Why is tofu that bad? You should be able to get organic tofu. By recollection I used to buy it in woolies when i lived in a small town even. Couscous is yummy. Beans are great for variety. I agree with the Indian dishes. Also most African dishes can be cooked without meat. Stews and then rice or potatoes for your carbs.

Look for recipes on the internet.

I live in West Africa atm where the vegetables are really limited and my husband and I and our baby are all vegetarian. I mainly use different spices to make the meals a little different. Sometimes I use the blender for a bunch of vegies in a stew so it's thick but we still get the vitamins from more than just onions and tomato. Sometimes I use garlic, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I use onions and sometimes I use spring onions.

So it's the flavours that change but not the essential ingredients.

I am sure most people would be even more bored on a diet like this but I am now used to it and it's all our little girl has ever known. :)

Bethanie - posted on 04/02/2010




Have you tried Quinoa as a different protein source? It's yummy and filling and great to mix with veggies like a pilaf. Would make a great meatless dish. Also, stir frys with lots of veggies served with brown or white sticky rice.

Constance - posted on 04/01/2010




If you are trying to maintain sustainable eating habits my biggest tip is to buy local. I wonder if you have a farmer's market you can visit once or twice a week? I love going the Farer's market and finding something new and seasonal. If you aren't a vegetrian and would like to eat a modest amout of meat this is a wonderful place to start. The family owened and operated farms are far better for the environment than factory farms. You can buy anything your heart desires at a farmers market. I have even found handmade tofu!! Dairy, veggies, meat, grains, fruits are all available. I hope this suggestion helps. Cheers and enjoy!

Ruth - posted on 02/23/2010




Beans, peas, and lentils are amazing. And there are so many variations--chickpeas or fava beans in a moroccan tajine, lentils cooked with onions and spices to make dal, an indian dish, as well as using them in tacos and chili. You can mash them up with spices and onion and cook them (falaffel), or cook them until soft and puree them--there are several bean dips in Mediterranean cooking. While beans on their own aren't a complete protein, if you serve them with rice you'll get a complete protein.

Alison - posted on 02/23/2010




I am not making a constant effort to eat more sustainably (hats off to you and your family!), but here are a few ideas off the top of my head:

How about egg-based dishes (omelettes, quiche, poached in tomato sauce), legumes, vegetarian chile, couscous with veggies, chick peas and stewed tomatoes, polenta, French onion soup...

You can do all kinds of things with squash too. And eggplant can be great when prepared properly, did you give it the chance it deserves???

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