With health organisations encouraging a reduction in the amount of meat we consume, more and more of us are choosing to cut down on the amount of meat we eat. The World Cancer Research Fund recommends we “choose mostly plant foods, limit red meat and avoid processed meat”. Studies have shown that swapping animal protein for plant-based protein like beans and pulses can have health benefits, as well as being better for the environment. It may even help us to save the pennies, as plant proteins such as dried beans or lentils, typically cost less than the equivalent amount of animal protein.
Meat Free Monday is a good opportunity to introduce a change starting with just one day of the week. Why not give it a go?
You can order this Meat Free Monday poster to show your support in your setting or workplace. Order here!
It’s simple to adapt some of your favourite recipes without impacting on the nutrition value. For example, swap beef mince for soya mince when making lasagne or spaghetti Bolognese As long as a vegetarian diet, or meat free day, is well planned for in order to provide a variety of cereal foods, vegetables, pulses, fruit and dairy products, it is possible for children and adults to get the energy and nutrients required for good health. It is important for vegetarian children to be provided with a variety of protein sources such as pulses, eggs and meat alternatives each week as part of lunch and tea each day.
You can find a range of fantastic recipes from a number of organisations:
The Department for Education, Public Health England and the Department of Health have published downloadable example menus and guidance, to support early years settings in England to provide meals and snacks in line with current government dietary recommendations for infants and children aged six months to four years. The menus and recipes include a range of vegetarian options.
The Meat Free Monday website also has a range of recipes for you to try.
If you would like support in planning your menus you can book onto our Tier 2 Association for Nutrition certified Menu Planning training for early years setting