How often do you go meat free? Once, twice a week? Or maybe hardly ever? Going veggie at least once a week is not only beneficial to your health but also easy on the wallet for us students.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t eat meat – red meats in particular contain essential vitamins and minerals, however, they also contain high levels of saturated fats which, in high levels of consumption, can increase risk of all sorts of nasty diseases. To avoid this, opt for leaner cuts of meat or low fat meats such as chicken or turkey. But why not try cutting out the meat altogether a couple of times a week? Even TV Chef Jamie Oliver has recently been in the news promoting more meat free mealtimes, so let’s jump on the veggie band wagon.
Give Quorn a go
I’m sure many of you are thinking yuck – no way! My sentiments exactly, until one of my veggie flatmates persuaded me to give it a try… and I was pleasantly surprised! I bought a bag of the ‘Chicken Style Pieces’ and this week I’ve used them in a stir fry, risotto and fajitas, all of which were delicious, and I could honestly barely taste the difference. Quorn also offers ‘Meat Free Mince’ which you can use to make vegetarian versions of old favourites such as spaghetti Bolognese and chilli con carne but with half the calories and a fraction of the fat! They offer such a vast range of meat alternatives, so take your pick and give it a go – a bag (500g) is usually priced around £3.00, but are half price at Tesco until the 2nd February so get shopping!
Make veggies the star of the show!
Not too keen on the idea of eating micro proteins and fungi? Nevermind, vegetables have the potential to be the centrepiece of your meal – you’ll be so satisfied you’ll forget about your love of meat. The Student Recipes website has a whole section full of delicious vegetarian recipes ready for you to have a route through, though here are a few that I think you should definitely give a go!
Spaghetti, Tomato & Pesto Frittata: A great way to use up leftover pasta, serve up with a nice side salad and the eggs are a healthy source of protein that will keep your appetite satisfied!
Mixed Bean Chilli: If you don’t fancy the Quorn alternative of chilli con carne, swapping the meat for beans and pulses is a great substitute as they are lower in fat, calories yet rich in vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein! What’s more, they are incredibly cheap compared to minced meats.
Beetroot and Goats Cheese Gratin: A classic combination and a bit of luxury! You could swap the cream for reduced fat crème fraiche if you want to cut down the fat, and serve with some cous cous to ensure it fills you up.
Falafel Burgers: Satisfy your cravings for a burger with this falafel recipe but without the meat, guilt and fat! Serving them in a wrap or pitta is a nice change from a usual bap, and serve with some tomato salsa or tzatziki for a continental twist.
Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry: No need for meat here, as the lentils fill you up and the sweet potato is so delicious and flavoursome. So much tastier than your usual run of the mill Indian takeaway!
Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto: A guilt free, meat free comfort food that turns any bad day good. Tinned tomatoes are a store cupboard essential and saviour for so many dishes.
So, I hope this week’s blog has convinced you to try more vegetarian meals and converted you to going meat free once or twice a week! Ideally, try to aim your teatime meals for the week based around 2 servings of fish, 3 of meat and 2 vegetarian. Have you got any delicious and nutritious vegetarian meals you want to share? Don’t forget to upload them to the Studentrecipes website!