by Nicola Graimes
It has been named as one of the top food trends of the moment… it is called ‘flexitarianism’ – vegetarians who occasionally eat meat or fish and meat-eaters who regularly include plant-based meals into their diet.
I have picked up on this burgeoning trend with my new book Part-time Vegetarian, due to be published in late September. The cookbook includes over 100 vegetarian recipes, many of which can be adapted to include meat, seafood or poultry, if so liked.
If you’re keen to reduce the amount of meat you eat or you are looking for delicious adaptable meals, the Part-time Vegetarian shows how easy and tasty it can be.
Here are some simple tips to get you started:
- A good starting point is to change the ratio of animal protein to veggies on your plate. This means having a smaller piece of meat or fish on your plate than perhaps you would normally have and upping the quantity of vegetables and look to include vegetarian protein foods, such as nuts, cheese, pulses, eggs or tofu.
- If you’re new to vegetarian cooking or find it all a bit daunting, it’s time to think out of the box. Don’t feel restricted by meals that are made up of meat, potatoes and vegetables – there is a wealth of exciting vegetarian meals out there waiting to be tried. Check out new recipes to make it less daunting.
- Risotto, paella, pies, tarts, winter and summer salads, soups, stews and bakes don’t have to include meat or fish. Try to include a meat-free main meal at least three times a week – but the choice is yours.
- It’s a good idea to plan ahead what you’re going to eat over the forthcoming week. In that way, you can ensure you are eating a good balance of varied meals and it makes food shopping that much easier. There are some meal plan ideas at the back of my book to help.
- Stock up on store cupboard essentials so that you always have a good store of veggie ingredients to hand such a tinned beans, lentils, tinned toms, nuts, seeds, grains, noodles and pasta.
- Try to be aware of seasonality and local fresh fruit and veg suppliers. Markets, pick-your-own and veg box schemes can all be good value and will open your eyes to new varieties of fresh stuff perhaps not tried before.
- Eat up your veg – make a conscious effort to try a previously untried type of veg each week – Asian grocers are great places for finding new varieties.
- The beauty of a flexitarian, or part-time vegetarian diet, is there are no hard and fast rules so it can be as flexible or varied as you like. That means you don’t have to feel pressure to stick to any dietary guidelines, which allows you to take things at your own pace.
- Flexitarianism is a lifestyle choice, rather than a ‘diet’ so have fun – no guilt allowed!
Sign up for our newsletter to get our new articles straight to your inbox every month.