Social media stories, cooking programmes on the TV, new restaurant openings and dedicated supermarket sections – these are just some of the areas we’re now seeing vegetarianism in our daily lives. This is a reflection of the huge increase in vegetarianism in the UK, driven by factors such as ethical, environmental and health concerns as well as social media. Recent reports suggest that 25% of British people now cut back on the amount of meat they eat.
Veganism and vegetarianism are certainly the food trends of the day. Are you looking to cut down your meat intake or shake it completely? From new recipes to substituting meat, here’s a quick guide to help kickstart your vegetarian diet.
Know why you want to make a change
With all the medical and healthy living advice, media influences and news that we’re aware of these days, we can be persuaded to make changes. This is fine, but it’s important to know and understand the reasons why you want to make the change to vegetarianism. Whether it’s for ethical or environmental reasons, or it’s part of maintaining a more balanced diet, then it will be much if easier to maintain if you have a solid foundation and you’ll be more committed to the change.
Experiment with new recipes first
If Monday comes around and you tell everyone, “I’m vegetarian from this day on”, you’ll risk finding it a much more difficult and unenjoyable experience. Steady transition is the best approach as you’ll need to plan the types of meals you’re going to be eating every day. To inspire yourself to tackle the challenge start by working in one or two vegetarian recipes each week, then two or three, and so on. This way you’ll be more prepared to get to grips with the reduction in meat and you can develop more satisfying dishes.
Improve your kitchen skills and understanding of ingredients
To ensure your vegetarian diet is healthy and balanced, you might need to get up to scratch with some more cooking techniques, as well as understanding what foods work the best with each other. Losing meat can initially leave a void which can often result in some bland dishes or unhealthy dishes if you’re not careful! A bean chilli with brown rice, for example, provides a great mix of protein, fibre and low GI carbohydrates.
Bring in the meat substitutes
Still missing the texture of meat? Struggling without a focal point to your dishes? There are plenty of meat substitutes to be found in the supermarkets these days, some will be more familiar than others, but they all provide great alternatives for people with a range of tastes. The most well-known brands are Quorn and Linda McCartney, which produce a range of foods, from veggie sausages and burgers to scotch eggs and kievs. Heading into more specialist territory, we have tempeh, tofu and seitan, which can often be found in a range of Asian cuisine. Still desperately craving some BBQ pulled pork? Say hello to the jackfruit.
Focus on nutritious ingredients
Above most other considerations, one of your key concerns should be to simply focus on including as many nutritious ingredients in your dishes as possible. From beans and lentils, to protein-rich meat substitutes, nuts and seeds. It’s easy to fall into the trap of eating veggie burgers, cheese toasties and omelettes all the time. So get down to your local greengrocers, stock up on fresh veg and start experimenting! To ensure you have a balanced and varied diet, read the NHS’ advice on healthy eating for vegetarians and vegans.
To help you with recipes ideas and cooking techniques, our stylish, innovative Vision oven is the perfect kitchen companion. The oven is set up and controlled through the 19″ interactive touch screen with one single on/off button. A quick and easy way to navigate around the oven and use for step-by-step cooking tutorials for your veggie recipes! You’ll also need plenty of fridge space for all those lovely vegetables so check out our range of spacious AXI fridge freezers.