Growing up as an athletic kid I was always taught that chicken is one of the healthiest sources to get protein. Still to this day, coaches encourage us to eat lean meats, especially chicken. Alternative sources of protein are rarely mentioned and rarely ordered during team meals. This is why I found it so surprising how much of an impact meat consumption has on the environment, despite the normalness of meat-based diets in the United States. This is also why I want to reduce the amount of meat I eat in my diet for my sustainable behavior challenge.
One of the main reasons I have chosen this behavior is because of how I view meat consumption in my own daily diet. If I don’t consume some source of meat for breakfast or lunch, mostly chicken since I am not a fan of red meat, I will definitely eat it for dinner. I never really consider other options of obtaining protein in my daily diet. While I do eat foods with high protein content that can provide the same nutrition as chicken, I never really think that those are good enough. For example, I’ll eat edamame beans for a midday snack and a peanut butter sandwich for lunch, yet I’ll still think I need to eat a leaner meat for dinner since I didn’t eat meat at all throughout the day.
The biggest challenge I will face while changing this behavior will definitely be finding alternative sources of protein on a daily basis. While it is slightly easier to choose an alternative on a menu when I’m at a restaurant, it is more difficult to buy these alternatives to bring back to my room and eat on a daily basis. I also anticipate difficulty in just researching what alternatives will provide me with the same nutritional value as the meat would provide. I think it will be especially difficult for the next couple months to do change this behavior because I’ll be in season and on the road more often without much control of what restaurants we go to. Regardless, I’ll be on the lookout for alternatives to meat on every menu!