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.

If you already know you would like a more sustainable diet, then join our Let's Eat Better movement today and start getting free tips for easy, tasty and planet friendly food.

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However if you think a vegetarian-leaning lifestyle sounds too hard here are 10 easy ways to help you eat less meat.

1. Switch to non-meat protein alternatives 

Swap the meat in traditional recipes for alternatives such as pulses, tofu, quorn, or soya. Try a golden veggie shepherd's pie or vegetarian bolognese.

Vegetarian bolognese
Substitute meat for alternatives such as lentils or soy protein, by Reut C

2. Cook vegetarian recipes for the whole family

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 young people need. Try these vegetarian recipes for families.

Pairs of hands cooking vegetables
Try veggie recipes the whole family will enjoy, by iStock

3. Try filling and healthy soups

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.

soup and bread
Soups can be cooked in bulk and frozen for future meals, by Jenny Chandler

4. Eat seasonal fruit and vegetables

Get to know what's in season. Eating food that's just been picked tastes better, is better value and is better for the planet.   

A plate of seasonal fruit and veg
Eating food in season is tastier and better value, by iStock

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.

Roast chicken
Make the most of your meat and get it to last longer, by Lucas Richarz

6. Expand your veggie recipe repertoire 

Go global and experiment with vegetarian recipes from other countries. Try these collections of recipes from around the world.

Map of world in food on a plate
Increase your recipe repertoire by trying other countries' cuisine, by Thinkstock

7. Fit food and cooking into your lifestyle

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.

slow cooked stew
    Invest in a slow cooker and have hot food waiting for you. Picture by Cygnoir

8. Party food ideas

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. 

Friends enjoying a veggie BBQ
There are lots of veggie BBQ recipes, by Friends of the Earth

9. Plan what you're going to cook  

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.

Man having dinner
Planning ahead will mean more creativity in the kitchen, by Thinkstock

10. Satisfying salad recipes

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 such as roasted vegetables. See BBC Good Food vegetarian salads and 50 meal-worthy vegetarian salads.

An avocado salad
With the right ingredients salads can be a filling choice, by iStock

Eating less and better meat is one of the key ingredients to a diet that is more sustainable and healthy for you and the planet. Click the orange button and join our Let's Eat Better movement now!

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Grilled vegetables on a board