10 ways to eat less meat

Eating a sustainable diet - with less but better-quality meat - is not only better for the planet, it's better for our health too.

So it's not surprising that, together with the health benefits of eating less meat, more of us are turning towards vegetarian - or flexitarian - diets. It’s also an easy way to prepare budget-friendly meals for all the family.

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Not sure? Maybe eating less meat sounds too difficult?

Friends of the Earth's Media Volunteer Kate Plowman looks at quick and easy ways to get you started.

  1. Switch to non-meat protein 
    Swap the meat in traditional meat recipes for alternatives like pulses, tofu, quorn, or soya. Try this Golden veggie shepherd's pie or this Vegetarian spaghetti bolognese.
  2. Get the whole family involved  
    If you're cooking for children as well as adults, it's even more important to ensure you've got the proteins, minerals and brain-boosting nutrients the little ones need. Try these vegetarian recipes for families.
  3. Soup it up
    Soups are an easy meal option that you can cook in bulk and freeze. They're filling and healthy, especially if you incorporate pulses and serve with bread or pitta bread. Try this Moroccan split pea soup recipe.
  4. Eat seasonally
    Get to know what's in season. Eating food that's just been picked tastes better, is better value and is a better deal for the planet.   
  5. Make your meat go further. Buy better quality meat, and plan recipes to make the most of it. Learn how to make a roast chicken last a week.
  6. Expand your repertoire 
    Go global and experiment with vegetarian recipes from other countries. Try these collections of recipes from around the world.
  7. Eating your way
    Find recipes that work for you and your lifestyle. If you're short of time, try these quick recipes.

    If you have time in the morning to prepare a few simple dishes, consider investing in a slow cooker. Have a look at these 50 vegetarian slow cooker recipes or 35 slow cooker recipes for busy or lazy vegetarians.
  8. Party time
    There are plenty of great dishes that work well for celebrations and parties - and BBQs don't have to involve shop-bought veggie burgers! Try these tasty veggie recipes for parties, picnics and BBQs. 
  9. Plan ahead  
    Planning gives you more chance to think creatively, rather than defaulting to your usual meat recipes. You'll find loads of ideas online - start with some of these flexitarian recipes.
  10. Savour a salad
    Often overlooked as a main dish, salads can make a filling meal, especially if you add beans, nuts, avocado or cheese. In the colder months you can choose warm ingredients like roasted vegetables. See BBC Good Food vegetarian salads and 50 meal-worthy vegetarian salads.

Eating less and better meat is one of the ingredients for a sustainable diet. Let's all eat better together - sign up below to join the movement and receive tips on healthier eating for you and the planet.

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