So you have decided to become a flexitarian (aka a Flexible Vegetarian) and shake up your diet and eat less meat. That’s great. Being a flexitarian will benefit both your health and the environment. If you feel a bit daunted at the prospect of venturing into uncharted territory why not look at our 8 easy steps to eating less meat.
1) Don’t Go Cold Turkey: like with many things in life going cold turkey might not last beyond a few weeks. At first try to go without meat one day a week. Call it Meat Free Monday, Tuesday … whatever suits your lifestyle. Choose a convenient time and stick to it. If one week you get out of sync make sure you catch up the following day.
2) Get a good vegetarian cookbook: vegetarian food has evolved beyond baked beans. Find inspiration in some of our favourites vegetarian cookbooks such as Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Accidental Vegetarian by Simon Rimmer; Vegetarian Supercook by Rose Elliot
3) Go Local, Go Seasonal: visit your local market or farm shop. See what vegetables are in season and plan a dish around them. If you are not sure what to do with some of them ask the vendor.
4) Try World Cuisine: some cuisines (especially the ones blending lots of flavours and spices) are particularly well suited to meatless cooking. Try Indian, Mexican, Ethiopian etc..
5) Love Your Beans and Lentils: beans and lentils are high in protein, B Vitamins and fibre. They add bulk and bite to vegetarian dishes so you feel satisfied for longer. Mix them with nuts, seeds, rice or grains and you have a complete protein containing the nine essential amino acids.
6) Know Your Grains: grains make a good source of protein and fibre. Swap white rice for brown rice and experiment with quinoa, amaranth, bulgur wheat, barley, wild rice…. All of them are great mixed with vegetables for a warm main course or drizzled with vinaigrette in a salad.
7) Buy Organic Meat: if you are going to eat meat make it good meat from (once happy – roaming in the countryside) pigs, cows, sheep, chickens etc..!
8) Use Your Meat Left Overs: this is particularly easy with left over from roasts. Left over chicken, turkey, lamb, beef can go in soup, pies, curry, stir fry, risotto etc…