03/09/2012 02:24 pm ET

Meatless Mondays: A Family Dinner Table Talk

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

Monday gets a bad rap -- it’s the start of another school week or workweek and the end of weekend relaxation. But it’s also a time to set a plan for the next six days and try to stick to it. That’s the thinking behind “Meatless Monday,” a global movement to avoid eating meat at the beginning of each week and raise awareness about what it does to our health and the environment.

In this video by the Humane Society, the concept of “Meatless Monday” is broken down to its basics: who supports the initiative, how you can go meat-free with vegetarian options, why skipping meat is good for you and others, and where you can go to learn more about this weekly ritual. According to the video, one of the largest contributors to global warming is animal agriculture -- farms that work like factories, pollute the air and soil, and often raise animals in really bad living conditions. "If every American replaced chicken with a nonmeat food for one meal, once a week, it would be like taking half a million cars off the road," it says.

Besides helping the environment, eating meatless meals helps prevent illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and stroke. And this article by "The Family Dinner" author Laurie David reminds us that there are lots of other ways to get the protein you need, like eating beans, lentils, and grains. Knowledge is power, and one thing we can always know more about is what we put into our bodies and how it affects not only us but everything else, too.

Questions for discussion:
  • Would you want to participate in “Meatless Monday”?
  • What’s your favorite food? Do you know where it comes from or how it’s made?
  • What are other ways you can be mindful of the food you eat?

This Week's Recipe:
Each week, we give you something to talk about at dinner time, and now, something to eat too! Tonight's recipe comes to us from Ezra Pound Cake: Three-Cheese Mushroom and Spinach Calzone.


In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Click here to see last week's Family Dinner Download

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For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (