Riverside, California (NAPSI) - There’s a new initiative, called Meatless Mondays, to help you improve your health. By eating plant-based foods in place of meat just one day a week, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

In fact, a recent Harvard University study found that by replacing saturated fat, found in animal foods, with foods rich in polyunsaturated fats (such as canola oil), the risk of heart disease was reduced by 19 percent. And adopting such a diet could save you money, as a plant-based diet tends to be less expensive.

Serving a meatless meal that your family will enjoy starts with taste. Meat is appealing because of its savory taste, called umami. Umami is also naturally found in some vegetables (such as mushrooms and beans), dairy products and fish. Substituting another umami food for meat will help satisfy the desire for meat protein.

Here are some tips to help you eat meatless on Mondays or any day of the week:

• Build your meal around whole grains and vegetables, which will fill you up with their fiber and texture. Follow the USDA’s guidelines—divide your plate so that half of it contains vegetables, one-quarter is whole grains and one-quarter is protein of some kind.

• Use inexpensive canola oil in place of butter and other saturated fats. Canola oil is cholesterol free, trans fat free, low in saturated fat as well as high in unsaturated fat and omega-3 fat.

• Try new recipes such as this flavorful umami-filled Mushroom Loaf.

Mushroom Loaf

Canola cooking spray

½ cup canola oil

16 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped

1 small red onion, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

2 tablespoons ground sage

1½ cups cooked brown rice

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 cup oat bran

1 cup wheat germ

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons mustard

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 9x5-inch loaf pan with canola cooking spray.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms, onions and bell peppers. Once the onions are transparent, add ground sage and cook for another 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the mushroom mixture until thoroughly blended. Spoon into prepared pan, pressing down mixture to flatten top. Bake for 50−60 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Top with fresh sage leaves, if desired.

For more information, visit www.meatlessmonday.com. For canola oil information, visit www.northerncanola.com.