There are some simple ways to reduce your meat intake and many reasons to do so. When I was growing up, I tried many times to go veggie because it seemed like the thing to do when you were a teenager. But it wasn't long before I succumbed to the allure of the bacon sandwich and promptly fell off the veggie wagon. It wasn't until later in life that I came to realize the many benefits for the environment, my health and of course, the animals themselves. Actually, my mind was truly changed when I watched the documentary 'Vegucated'. Our insatiable appetites and the demand for cheap food, has had a detrimental, and some might argue, irreversible impact on the environment. Where meat is concerned, this has meant that some meat producers are undertaking unethical and cruel practices to meet the demand for cheap meat. So, if you're not ready to go completely veggie, here are some ways to reduce your meat intake.
1. Become a Weekday Veggie
One of the simple ways to reduce your meat intake is to, well, reduce your meat intake. Become a weekday veggie or have dedicated meat-free days in the week. Meat doesn't have to be the centre of every meal, although my partner vehemently disagrees!
2. Quality Not Quantity
If you absolutely must have meat in the home (mainly because your partner can't survive without the stuff) make "quality not quantity" your mantra. Avoid the cheaper cuts of meat and opt for organic, grass-fed and outdoor bred. These are also nutritionally more beneficial because they have less saturated fats than grain-fed meat and are richer in nutrients such as zinc, iron, beta-carotene and Vitamin E.
3. Be Adventurous
It's so easy to get stuck in a culinary rut, especially when meat is the main part of the dish. When meat is the centre, it becomes all about how to prepare and cook the meat. Be adventurous and start experimenting with the hundreds of different vegetables out there. There is so much you can do to make your meals fun while being meat-free and nutritious at the same time.
4. Bulk It up
There are many ways in which you can cut down on the meat in your dishes. For example, you can use half the amount of mince you would usually use and bulk up the dish with oats. It sounds odd but it works. How about mixing your mince with lentils, which also have a protein-packed and meaty texture.
5. Stock up on the Veg
The key is to stock up on your vegetables too. There are so many delicious vegetables out there to try and so many different ways to cook them. Slice some aubergines and make a meat-free moussaka with lentils instead. Make vegetables the protagonists on your plate and if you're not ready to completely rid your meal of meat, make it your sassy side-kick (until you're ready to kick it out for good that is!)
6. Meat Alternatives
There are many meat substitutes on the market that you can add to your plate, like soya mince, but these are best kept to a minimum as they're highly processed and full of additives. Tofu, tempeh, seitan, whole-grains and legumes are great meat-free alternatives to give your body the protein and nutrients it needs.
7. Get People on Board
Another important factor when reducing your meat intake, is to make your reasons and rationale known to the family. It may be a challenge to convert them to your way of thinking and reducing doesn't mean completely ridding if you're not ready to go wholly meat-free just yet. All these little steps will help improve the environment and your health and of course, preserve the welfare of animals.
These are a few of the ways to reduce your meat intake. Do you have any others?