April 22nd is Earth Day! Did you know that one of the biggest positive impacts you can make for your planet (and your children’s future on it) is to choose to eat less meat?
Meat production accounts for about one-fifth of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. It is also a major factor in deforestation and pollution, and freshwater depletion. Most of us eat more eat than is recommended or needed, so why not make a conscious effort to reduce your family’s meat consumption, starting tomorrow, in honour of the upcoming Earth Day?
Easy “meat-free” family dinner ideas include: pasta with tomato sauce and navy beans, veggie chili, or vegetable stir-fry with cubed tofu. I’m attaching one of my time-tested, kid-approved meatless meals – every family I know loves this one, so give it a try!
Tofu is actually an extremely versatile, and simple, food to cook with, but many of my clients are “afraid of the unknown”, and don’t know what to do with it. This is a simple, delicious meal that your kids will also love. I call it “Peanut Butter Pasta”, which made it an instant winner at my table.
Always buy organic tofu and soy products when you can, as otherwise the soy is inevitably genetically-modified, which I am always wary of. Use firm or extra-firm tofu for this recipe, as it cuts easily and holds its form. Here you go:
whole wheat or brown rice pasta
2 cups of chopped spinach or de-stemmed, chopped kale (or other dark green, or steamed broccoli – or both!)
3 tbsp. natural peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup Bragg’s soy seasoning (available in your grocery store’s natural food section)
3 tsp white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1/2 c. water, or more as needed to thin the sauce
1 package firm or extra-firm organic tofu
1 tbsp olive oil
dash or two of sesame oil, optional
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp black or white sesame seeds, optional
To prepare: Put a big pot of water onto boil and cook as much pasta as your family needs. To prep the tofu, remove it from the package and pat it dry with a paper towel (Be careful to cut the package over the sink as it is packed in water). Slice the tofu into one-inch slices then cube it. Whisk the peanut butter, Bragg’s, white wine vinegar, and water together in a bowl. In another large pan, skillet or wok, heat some olive oil and a dash of sesame oil, if you have it, on medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and heat till fragrant (a minute or so), then add the tofu and saute until it gets golden, stirring regularly. [Sometimes I also add black or white sesame seeds to the tofu while cooking it to add a calcium punch.] Add the spinach or kale, stir until wilted, then add the sauce. Heat through until sauce thickens, and turn pan down to warm, adding more water if it gets too thick. Serve over the pasta.
Don’t forget to talk about Earth Day with your kids, and explain to them how eating less meat benefits the Planet! For loads more meatless recipes, visit the recipe blog on the Simple Balance website!
Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better! She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, ages 6 & 7. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website