Do you know how many serves of vegetables you need?
The daily recommended intake is 5 serves per day...
But only 4% of Australians are meeting their daily recommended intake of 5 serves per day, so what better time to shake this up than to jump on board Meat Free Week! Meat Free Week encourages participants to skip meat for seven days and raise funds for a great cause such as Bowel Cancer Australia. Lite n’ Easy Dietitian Fleur Lesslie shares her top tips for going Meat Free!
The Heart Foundation’s latest guidelines recommend that we consumed no more than 350g of red meat per week. But do you know what one serving size of meat looks like? It’s no secret that veggies are healthy for us, but to have a broad goal to just ‘eat more vegetables’ is not measurable and often not sustainable. Going meat free for one week creates a great opportunity to start thinking about how much meat you eat and the impact eating too much meat can have.
Here are 5 suggestions that will help both increase your vegetable intake and decrease your meat consumption without compromising on enjoyment!
Make it tasty!
If you prepare a meal as usual but omit the meat without a substitution, you might just find yourself with a bowl of plain veggies which is less than inspiring. Meals such as stir fries, curries, and pasta bakes make the vegetable the hero so you won’t even notice the meat is missing.
Plan your meals
Finding a new recipe book or jumping online to get some cooking inspiration is a great way to get excited about planning your meals. Especially when reducing meat, it is important to ensure you have got a yummy source of plant based protein every day.
Focus on protein, but not too much!
Yes we need protein for our muscles and to help us feel full, but we don’t actually need as much as people think. As we only need 1-3 serves per day, this could be as simple as eggs on toast at breakfast, a curry at lunch with lentils, chickpeas and rice, plus a tofu stir-fry for dinner.
Know your serving sizes
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that the average person should have 1 to 3 serves of protein foods per day, and that it should be from a variety of foods (including plant foods!). A standard serve of protein is 60-80g of lean meat. If consuming plant-based alternatives, a serving is 150-170g of legumes or tofu.
Don’t be fooled by ‘plant based’ processed foods
‘Plant-based’ claims don’t always mean products are healthy, as the more processing a food item goes through the less nutrients it usually retains. For example, we all identify chicken nuggets as not particularly healthy, but what if they were plant-based nuggets? This effect is known as a “health halo”, where we perceive certain products as being healthier because of clever marketing, not because of their actual nutritional benefits! The most important thing is to have fresh ingredients as the first and foremost goal, this ensures our bodies are receiving the most nutrients as possible, plus it is usually the more affordable option!
As stated by Bowel Cancer Australia “It’s not about promoting a complete shift to a vegetarian or vegan diet, but rather supporting a cause and providing an opportunity for people to make more informed decisions if they’re eating over the recommended intake”.
Lite n Easy’s chefs and dietitians have worked hard to create a vegetarian menu that tastes great! Plus, it meets the mark when it comes to a healthy vegetarian diet. We have ensured that there is plenty of protein in our meals and that it comes from a wide range of foods.
The single most important dietary change you can make to be healthier is to eat five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit each day. But it can be hard, which is why Lite n’ Easy’s complete meal solutions are the way to go. You’ll get to eat the right foods in the right portions throughout the day and get your daily 5+2 simply by enjoying our complete solution with a huge range of delicious meals. Give us a call on 13 15 12 or click here to order now.
Fleur Lesslie is an Accredited Practising Dietitian whose passion for nutrition and dietetics evolved from her love of food and cooking. Fleur is dedicated to encouraging practical strategies, ensuring eating healthy is the easiest option. Fleur has extensive experience working in private practice across a range of areas in chronic disease and gut health, and believes that good nutrition is fundamental to good health.