Rob Hobson April 25, 2019

It's time to do our bit to protect the planet, says nutritionist Rob Hobson. Start by cutting down your meat consumption with these simple plant-based swaps.

Studies show meat-free eating lowers your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. But switching to a plant-based diet is not for everyone. Nor is it the only solution for better health. ‘Substituting half of your meat consumption with veg or pulses won't just boost the nutritional value of your diet, it addresses the wider environmental issues of food production, too', says nutritionist Rob Hobson. ‘Small changes are a step in the right direction, and we should all be doing our bit when it comes to protecting the planet’. Read on for three easy meat-swaps to get you started.

Mushrooms instead of chicken

Bowl filled with different types of mushrooms 

Nutrient value: Vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium, and selenium, an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and supports the immune system.

How? Replace half the amount of chicken you use in a classic stir fry with fancy mushrooms. A mix of enokitake and chanterelle, which is meatier than you might think, work well, Mushrooms have a strong umami flavour that adds to the savoury taste of dishes, too.

Soy mince instead of minced meat 

Bowl of spaghetti with quorn bolognese  

Nutrient value: High in protein, which will keep you full despite cutting your meat intake, zinc which helps make new cells and promotes wound healing and vitamin B2, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system as well as healthy skin and eyes.

How? Halve the mince beef content of a Bolognese sauce to reduce the calorie and saturated fat content per portion. Do the same when making a pot of chilli con carne.

Beans, lentils and pulses instead of beef

Spoons of beans  

Nutrient value: Among the richest sources of fibre and a good source of iron and folate needed by the body to make healthy red blood cells). Also high in vitamin B1.

How? Going half and half on pulses and minced meat in a homemade burger is a great way to make BBQ food that little bit healthier. Think chickpeas, butterbeans or borlotti beans, all of which add extra pizazz to this classic summer sizzler.

For more information visit our vegan hub for recipes, health advice and more.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn't possible, supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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