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What's For Dinner? Restaurants Offer More Meatless Options

June 27, 2011

HARRISBURG, Pa. - "Where's the beef?" has a whole new meaning in the restaurant world, as more establishments work to offer vegetarian options to consumers. From Pittsburgh to Harrisburg to Philadelphia, restaurants are taking part in "Meatless Mondays" to encourage residents to explore plant-based menu options once a week. The goal of the national campaign is for people to reduce their meat consumption by 15 percent.

Erica Meier, executive director of the Washington-based group Compassion Over Killing, says many people are open to expanding their diets.

"It's exposing people to these options; letting them know they're available. They want to make the right choice when they realize that vegetarian foods are better for their health, it's better for animals, and it's better for the environment."

Meier and her group regularly work with restaurant chains to help them build more vegetarian options into their menus. Currently, they're campaigning for the Subway chain to offer a meatless deli slice. Other restaurant chains are already offering options, including Chipotle Grill and Moe's Southwest Grill.

Meier says seeing alternatives on the menu is key.

"Having these options on the menu increases the chances that a consumer's going to be interested in trying these. It makes it easier for people to make these choices, and it makes it easier for them to explore new foods."

Compassion Over Killing works to shed light on what they consider cruelty to animals raised for food, while promoting healthy eating.

Meier says studies indicate that reducing meat intake can improve health, including limiting cancer risk and curbing obesity.

Tom Joseph, Public News Service - PA