It dawned on me recently that slowly but surely, I had turned our family into carnivores. I had fallen into the trap of every dinner developing around an animal protein. I was trying to think of the last time we had a meat-free meal… and I couldn’t. I know there are real health benefits from incorporating meat-free meals into your diet - and not just for budget reasons - but I wasn’t clear on exactly why?
Mikhaila Todd, Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach tells Mamamia: "There is a common misconception that by not consuming meat substitutes over animal sources means that you and your family will miss out on protein. This is not the case at all.
"Meat-free substitutes focus on providing a similar protein profile to meat, often with additional benefits of being low in saturated fat plus high in fibre (which animal protein is not). This fibre boost helps to normalise bowel movements and can help to lower cholesterol levels."
With that in mind, I decided to overhaul our weeknight dinners by prioritising the number of meat-free meals we were having as a family. It wasn’t going to be easy - I have one particularly fussy eater in my at-home restaurant and another sceptic who likes his ‘meat and three veg’. I had to get creative.
Instead of trying to get them to eat completely new dishes, I tried to substitute things we already ate with meat-free alternatives from Quorn. Quorn products contain 'mycoprotein' which is a nutritionally healthy source of protein because it's high in protein, high in fibre and low in saturated fat. Producing mycoprotein uses less land and water than animal protein production, so it's better for the planet too.