Cary, N.C. — Most people have meat on their dinner table every night, but WakeMed Cary Hospital is trying to convince employees and patients to go vegetarian once a week with their Meatless Monday campaign.
"The main objective is to reduce the amount of saturated fat in people's diet," said dietitian Parul Kharod, who works at WakeMed Cary.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that Americans cut out about 15 percent of saturated fats from their diet. One day per week without meat could help achieve that goal, Kharod said.
"We are not asking people to turn vegetarian or anything like that," she said. "This is just adding more variety to the diet – adding more plant-based foods to the diet."
The hospital's cafeteria is offering free samples of healthy, vegetarian entrees to show people they can replace meat without losing out on taste and nutrients.
WakeMed Cary nurse Karen Hart, a devoted carnivore, agreed Monday to try one of those meals – curried lentils on brown rice.
"This is very good," she said. "It's very nicely seasoned. It's not real hot."
The hospital also offered grilled portobello sandwiches and African gumbo – a sweet and savory soup – over brown rice.
Hospital chaplain Diane Cox said the gumbo was so flavorful, she asked for a copy of the recipe.
"I can't wait to make this at home. I have a daughter that's vegetarian, so I know she'll love it," she said. "It gives me an opportunity to eat less meat during the week also."
WakeMed in Raleigh plans to try Meatless Mondays in their cafeteria soon.