I've toyed with the idea of becoming a vegetarian, but haven't quite been able to make the leap.

Call me a chicken, but I'm just afraid I'd miss the occasional summertime burger on the grill, and my yummy white chicken chili in winter.

New research shows that eating more meat can lead to gaining pounds, though. Not totally surprising, but it's just one more reason to wave bye bye to burgers.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who ate more meat gained more weight over a five-year period, than those who consumed an equal number of calories, but less meat.

Falling right in line with those results, researchers also determined that the more meat a person ate, the greater the weight gain.

Card-carrying carnivores don't have to give up their membership. You can still enjoy meat, but reduce the overall quantity:

  • Aim to eat meat at only one meal a day.
  • Load up your wrap or sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, shredded carrot or other veggies, and use just a small amount of meat.
  • Reduce the meat in soups and stews by half, and increase the amount of vegetables.
  • Serve smaller portions of lean meats with your dinner -- you can fill up on light side dishes instead.
  • Plan to have at least one vegetarian day each week.
  • Add grated carrot, chopped onion, chopped mushrooms and/or diced bell peppers to meatballs and meat-loaf -- the added vegetables increase the nutritional quality and reduce the amount of meat.
  • Enjoy a grilled Portobello mushroom, or a veggie burger instead of a hamburger.
  • Use just a small amount of meat in lasagne, and add vegetables such as zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms.
  • Cook a main dish using beans instead of meat.

What's your favorite reduced meat or meatless meal?