EAT LESS MEAT
Updated: Nov 12, 2021
Switching to a plant-based diet is the single biggest way we can reduce our impact on the planet. Meat and dairy products have much higher carbon emissions than fruit and vegetables, so reducing the amount of meat you waste will have a bigger impact than cutting down on throwing out carrots. It also happens to be more affordable and often healthier for us.
Yet there is no need to turn vegan – the goal is to reduce meat considerably compared to our current consumption. After WHO released a report linking some meat to some cancer, the NHS recommended a maximum of 70gr of red or processed meat a day per adult.
Will you still get enough protein if you eat less meat?
In the UK, adults are advised to eat 0.75g of protein for each kilogram they weigh, based on the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI). So if you weigh 70kg (11 stone), you should eat about 52.5g of protein a day. Plant-based options can be as high in protein as their meat or dairy-based alternative.
Lentils, together with chickpeas, fava beans, and quinoa form the ‘fantastic four’ alternative protein sources. For instance:
100gr of cooked oat for breakfast + hemp seeds and a handful of nuts - for breakfast
100gr of cooked whole grain + 100gr of cooked pulse or beans + 100 gr of selected vegs + a handful of nuts and seeds, for lunch
==> about 35 grams of protein – and it is just half day. Add an egg (about 6 grams), some bread, cheese, or more pulse/beans, and you easily get to the amount recommended for a 70kg person.
100 gr of oat = 10 grams of protein
Hemp seeds = 5 grams of protein per heaped tablespoon
100gr of cooked wild rice, spelt, kamut, quinoa = 4 to 5 grams of protein
100 gr of cooked lentils, chickpeas, fava beans, tofu = 7 to 9 grams of protein
100 gr of green peas, brussels sprouts, artichokes, spinach, sweetcorn, or white mushrooms = 3 to 4.5gr of protein.
30gr of peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds = 6 to 8.5 gr of protein.
How to cut down on meat?
Start small, with one day without meet and reducing the amount of meat the other days; eating less red meat and more free range organic chicken.
And then invest in real veggie or even vegan food. Start learning how to cook vegetables and other types of proteins, such as beans, lentils, tofu, eggs.
Don’t just replace the meat. It’s a classic rookie vegetarian mistake to continue eating exactly as you did before and just substitute faux meat products for the real thing. Not only is this entirely unsatisfying, but it’s also missing the point. Vegetarian meals can be some of the most delicately spiced, richly seasoned, deeply nourishing meals you’ll ever eat. Delve into recipes and go beyond the fake meat to discover the incredible variety of meatless cuisine. You’ll be glad you did.
Useful resources to cook more vegs
Riverford recipes. Enter the name of your veg and it will find recipes for you.
Riverford veg hacks – simple tricks on video to make the most out of vegs.
The Meatless Monday campaign, with many tips and recipes