Over Mother’s Day Weekend, I spent some wonderful quality time with my beautiful family in Portland, OR where we got a chance to hike to Horsetail Falls. We are so blessed to live close to one another in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. Nothing beats the beautiful outdoors of the Pacific Northwest!
The entire family is excited to be living what feels to be the perfect life. We’re all striving to live a healthy lifestyle — we eat well, we exercise, we continue to learn new things, and we play hard. I don’t think anyone could ask for more.
So why Meatless Monday?
An average American eats an awful lot of meat, about 8 ounces per day. That’s 180 pounds a year, twice the amount Americans ate in 1960! 45% more than the USDA recommends. Research shows that a meat heavy diet can lead to higher body weight, obesity and eventually diabetes. Diets high in red and processed meats are likely to cause cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Starting your week right, with a Meatless Monday, is a great way to change your mind and menu one step at a time. Every little bit helps. It helps your health. It helps the environment. Monday is the first day of the week, the perfect day to reevaluate your food and exercise choices and help you to set goals for healthier intentions for the rest of the week. One step at a time you will create a better future.
If you’re worried about losing out on protein, don’t. You won’t suffer from protein deficiency because you go meatless one day each week. Besides there are some wonderful protein substitutions you can enjoy by adding protein rich beans, legumes, nuts and seeds (like quinoa) grains (like barley and bulgur) tofu, and tempeh.
You can feel assured that plant-based foods are healthy for your body. They tend to :
- be higher in fiber
- be higher in antioxidants
- be lower in carcinogens we know to be present in meat
- reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes
- cut your weekly food budget.
Now that’s pretty nice all the way around, don’t you agree?
Several years ago, my family and I chose to move to a complete plant-based diet. We eat no animal products which includes no red or white meat, poultry, fish, eggs or dairy. For many, that’s too radical of a change and most people are not ready to take that big of step. But I hope to change your mind and menu for at least Mondays. Going meatless one day a week isn’t hard. Every small change will make an impact on your health. And it will can encourage you to try foods you might otherwise pass up in favor of a burger or steak.
If everyone in the U.S. ate meatless just one day per week – at home, at work, at school, at restaurants it would make a huge impact on their health and on our environment.
So in the spirit of Meatless Monday, here’s a great recipe for Easy Baked Tofu that I find very delicious and easy to put together. You can’t beat that, because let’s face it, Mondays can sometimes be hectic. If you’re prepared with menu ideas that aren’t difficult to make and are satisfying, you’ll be more likely to give it a try!
Now I know some people who absolutely hate tofu. Although it’s been around for centuries, sadly it’s gotten a pretty bad reputation because it looks funny, has a funny texture and basically has no flavor. There are a lot of reasons why people say they hate tofu, but I feel that can be avoided when tofu is prepared and cooked properly.
I enjoy tofu scrambled with veggies and use it to make sauces. But, I think my favorite is baked tofu. It’s great when warm, and makes a great, easy-to-transport snack to eat on a long hike, between classes, or your commute home. I like to marinate my tofu, and often use Tamari Sauce. A while ago, I tried adding Annie’s Organic BBQ sauce. On my recent trip to Portland, I shared some with my 24-year-old son who loved it. Being a busy full-time student at PSU, who also works half-time at OHSU, he’s always looking for quick and easy, tasty recipes. The key to this recipe is just a few hours of time to marinate the tofu or prep the night before.
EASY BAKED TOFU
- Servings: 2
- Prep time: 30 minutes to press the tofu, a few hours to marinate or overnight.
- Cook time: 25 to 30 minutes
- Tofu, extra-firm, 8 oz
- Tamari Sauce, 2 tablespoons
- 1 to 2 tablespoons water
- Annie’s BBQ Sauce, 2 tablespoons
Take the extra-firm tofu, wrap it in a paper towel and press it beneath a weighted plate for about 30 minutes to remove the excess water. Next, cut the tofu into one-half inch cubes, slices, or sticks and place into a glass dish.
In a shallow dish, whisk together the Tamari sauce, water and BBQ sauce. Pour the sauce over the tofu being sure to drench each piece. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to marinate for a few hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven at 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (I use my Misto oil sprayer). Lay the tofu on the baking sheet and spray with a bit of oil. Bake for 12 minutes, flip each piece and continue to bake for additional 12 to 15 minutes until puffed and golden.
When done baking, add to your meal. It’s great in salads, stir fry, rice bowls, sandwiches, and crumbling into sauces served over pasta. Pack what doesn’t get eaten for later in the week.