A vegetarian diet can be a wonderful way of adding colour, texture, variety, heart-healthy fibre and antioxidants. Food can still be tasty and filling without meat in it and it’s also generally lower in saturated fat, which is great for your heart.
National Vegetarian Week runs from 14 - 20 May and is a fantastic opportunity to get your creative juices flowing. Discover tasty new foods and make your favourite dishes meat-free .
Here are a few ‘cream of the crop’ tips to tickle your tastebuds:
- Get away with a porky
There are so many healthy and tasty alternatives to meat - veggie does not mean boring! Soya protein can be used in burgers, bolognese, curries and has much lower saturated fat content; it may even reduce harmful cholesterol. So why not see if you can get away with a porky and challenge your partner or kids to see if they can tell a difference?
- Pocket the goodness
Going veggie can also save a few pennies too. Fruit and vegetables don’t have to be fresh to count towards your 5 a day; in fact there are many other ways to include a variety of them in your diet at a lower cost while still tasting good. Stock up on tinned beans, pulses and frozen veg, and pocket the pounds and the goodness.
- Bulk up
Rice, grains, chickpeas, beans and lentils make a good base for many vegetarian dishes. The soluble fibre in these traditional meat replacements help to mop up cholesterol, and keep you fuller for longer. Experiment with different varieties such as arborio, basmati, long and short grain, brown and wild rice, as well as couscous and bulgar wheat which can be eaten hot, or cold in salads, and are great for leftover lunchboxes.
- Go nuts
Unsalted nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds and linseeds not only give you a meat-free alternative to protein but they’re packed with heart healthy fats. TV chef and Heart Research UK ambassador Sally Bee has a scrumptious nut roast recipe you’ll go nuts for. Or why not go for a nutty pesto and pasta meal, rather than a beef ragu.
There are plenty of tasty, vegetarian ideas in our Happy Healthy Heart Cookbook, created with clothing and homeware retailer Damart, to give you and your family a taste of veggie goodness during National Vegetarian Week. Download for free (and donate what you can), and start challenging yourself to make some hearty meat-free dishes that everyone will enjoy.