Choose better protein

Start the week right: go meatless on Mondays

The Meatless Monday Movement was started in 2003 by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to address the health concerns over eating too much meat. A diet low in meat and high in plant-based proteins, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains has been linked to many health benefits.

Decrease cancer

Studies1 show a diet high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk by providing cancer-fighting antioxidants. Foods high in saturated fats, processed meat, and red meats increase risk of cancers.

Improve heart health

Animal protein is higher in saturated fats and cholesterol, which is linked to increased risk of heart disease. Plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and edamame, are naturally lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. Replacing animal protein with plant-based protein can help decrease risk of heart attack and stroke.

Boost longevity

A large study2 examining the relationship between meat intake and mortality found that a diet high in red and processed meats increased overall mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality. A low meat intake was associated with a longer life.

Manage weight

Vegetarians generally have a lower body mass index (BMI) compared to their meat-eating counterparts3. Fruits, vegetables, and plant protein are naturally lower in fat than animal protein. They are also high in fiber, which helps you stay full longer and reduces the temptation to consume more calories.

Join the movement

Not eating meat at least one day a week can be easy! You may find that you are motivated to continue healthy eating habits as the week progresses. Talk to a Optum doctor about incorporating Meatless Mondays into your diet.

 Visit MeatlessMonday.com for more information and recipes.


1.  Sinha R, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, Leitzmann MF, Schatzkin A. Meat intake and mortality: A prospective study of over half a million people. Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169(6):562-571.

2.  Orlich MJ, Singh PN, Sabaté J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fan J, Knutsen S,Beeson WL,  Fraser, GE. Vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality in adventist health study 2. JAMA Intern Med. 2013; 173(13):1230-1238.

3.  Kate Marsh, PhD; Carol Zeuschner and Angela Saunders. Health Implications of a Vegetarian Diet: A Review. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2012;6(3):250-267.

This site does not provide medical advice. This website is for informational purposes only.