3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - One of the joys of summer is grilling on the patio or in the backyard.

But whether your supermarket meat case is looking a little bare, or you just can’t find the specific cut you want, you might have to rethink your grilling menu.

“Think about it as an opportunity to develop a healthy habit: eating less meat,” Amy Keating of Consumer Reports tells 3 On Your Side. “Eating less meat can lead to a healthy and more sustainable diet. Diets low in meat that focus on fruits and vegetables and a variety of plant protein sources are consistently tied to better health.”

Love a juicy, grilled burger? Make a smaller amount of ground beef go further and make a healthier burger by adding chopped mushrooms.

meat shortage

Eating less meat will help with the meat shortage.

“Mushrooms can be an almost magical secret ingredient, adding moisture, bulk, and flavor when you sub them in for half the meat called for in burgers, meatloaf or meatballs,” Keating said.

Grill up a smaller portion of meat and then add some veggies, beans and grains to your plate, which allows meat to play a supporting role instead of being the main course.

“When you eat meat, it should take up just one-quarter of your plate,” Keating said.

Take a package of chicken. Instead of your family eating the whole thing at one sitting, divide it up and use some for grilled chicken that accents a salad or grain-based dish that includes legumes and still have some leftover for a stir-fry or enchiladas another day. Or skip the meat altogether and give tofu a try.

“If you’re grilling up shish-kabobs, you can use an extra-firm tofu in place of meat,” Keating said.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can take some of those black beans and quinoa you may have stored in your cupboards and make your own veggie burgers to grill up.

Gary Harper's 3 On Your Side reports air weeknights on 3TV News at 9.


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