Going Vegetarian

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Cathy Fitzgerald, MS, RD, and the MFit nutrition staff at the University of Michigan Health System would like to share some activity ideas that they have done with small groups of up to 30 people.

Going Vegetarian

Have a Bon Voyage Party theme for your next nutrition or wellness class. The place you are leaving? MeatTown. Have participants dress like a tacky tourist. Present them with a list of reasons to have less meat in their diet:

• Saturated fat

• Cholesterol

• Potential carcinogens formed from high-heat cooking

• Lack of fiber and phytochemicals

• Animal protein that raises cholesterol

Their destination? Beany Island – a tropical paradise where there are all sorts of exotic bean dishes. These dishes can be made by you for the class or the class can bring them as part of the party and fun. If you want great bean recipes, visit our website at www.foodandhealth.com and click on Recipe Database under Free Resources; click on Beans. Let them know all the reasons that they should have more beans and other plant foods in their diets:

• Phytochemicals are present that can help lower the risk for heart disease and cancer.

• Important vitamins and minerals, including folate which helps prevent birth defects and lowers homocysteine levels.

• Good source of protein.

• Excellent source of soluble fiber which helps to manage weight, control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and improve digestion.

• Virtually fat-free (except for soybeans) and no saturated fat or cholesterol.

• Low in calorie density with a high satiety value – feel fuller longer on fewer calories.

Encourage participants to eat more whole, plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.

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