Are you a “weekday vegetarian?”

That’s the term restaurant chefs are using these days, for the growing number of people who are eating fewer animal-based foods, only once or twice a week. They’re basically people who want the health benefits of an all-veggie diet, but who still crave a bite of meat every now and then.

Health experts say this trend is good news, when you consider the average North American eats the equivalent of 21,000 animals over a lifetime!

That’s a huge jump from a century ago, when many families were lucky to eat just one portion of meat a week. And as we’ve talked about before, the fat and calories in meat are among the leading causes for obesity and heart disease.

Fortunately, today’s restaurants are making it very easy to become a weekday vegetarian. For example:

  • More restaurants are offering veggie appetizers, like plates stacked with cheese, crackers, grapes, or bite-size vegetables.

  • You may also notice more menu descriptions listing the veggie ingredients before the meat ingredients. The thinking is that if you give veggies top billing, diners will be primed to crave the non-meat ingredients in food.

Meanwhile, many restaurants are serving smaller portions of meat. For example: The largest steak you can order at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut steakhouses are only 8 ounces. Puck says he’d rather have people fill up on vegetable appetizers, and then get the flavor and taste of meat, without serving, quote: “half the cow in front of them.”