Take the Eating Better Challenge
Eating Better is encouraging everyone to take the Eating Better Challenge and enjoy tasty, affordable and healthy meals by incorporating more plant-based foods and less meat into their daily dinners.
Eating less meat is a simple way for people to benefit their health and the health of the planet, as well as save money. The good news is that by following Eating Better’s top tips and making simple tweaks to everyday meals like these, you can save money and make meals healthier.
The Eating Better Challenge top tips:
- Use half the meat in curries, casseroles and stews and double the amount of vegetables. Add a tin of beans or lentils and extra veg to a curry or a stew. Grate a courgette or carrot into pasta sauces.
- Replace some or all of the mince in spaghetti bolognaise, cottage pie and lasagne with Quorn or other meat substitutes.
- Buy smaller portions of meat and use to add flavour, rather than as the main ingredient.
- Try eating more meat-free meals and having one or two ‘meat-free days’ each week. Look out for veggie options, or make veggie versions of your favourite dishes like vegetable curry. Go easy on the cheese though, as it’s high in fat.
- If possible, use the money you save from eating less meat to choose meat that is free-range and outdoor reared and produced to higher animal welfare standards such as Freedom Foods or organic.
Follow us on Twitter and please send us your recipes and different dinner pictures using the hashtag #EatingBetterChallenge.
We're also interested in your 'better meat' recipes.
If you're keen to try choosing better meat we have some tips for you. Look for:
Organic: Demonstrates the highest in environmental and animal welfare standards. Organic standards are defined by law, and farmers and processors must be certified by an approved organisation; the Soil Association is the most well known. Organic farms don’t use chemical fertilisers or pesticides and the routine use of antibiotics is not permitted. Organic systems also provide high levels of animal welfare where the animals can go outside for part, or all, of their lives.
Free-range: Turkeys, chickens and pigs that can go outside for at least part of their lives. A varied environment allows them to be more active and exhibit more of their natural behaviours compared to intensively produced poultry and pigs. Free-range chicken typically contains less fat than intensively reared chicken, as well as being tastier.
Pasture / grass-fed: The traditional practice of grazing cattle and sheep on pasture as opposed to the more intensive practice of fattening them on grains indoors or in CAFOs (concentrated animal feed operations – largely found in the US). Keeping livestock on semi-natural habitats such as plant and wildlife-rich meadows and pastures can be an important conservation tool for maintaining British landscapes. Pasture-reared beef has been found to contain less fat and has a higher proportion of healthy omega-3 fatty acids compared with intensively reared beef.
Outdoor bred / reared: Refers mainly to pigs born in systems with outdoor space, then brought indoors for fattening after weaning (outdoor bred) or spend around half their life outdoors (outdoor reared).
Also look for:
Freedom Foods: the RSPCA’s higher animal welfare standards and labelling scheme that includes beef, chicken, pork and turkey. Freedom Foods allows free-range, organic, indoor and outdoor farms to join its scheme as long as the RSPCA’s welfare standards can be met. Sainsbury’s sells more Freedom Food labelled products than any other supermarket.
As a bare minimum:
Farm assured / Red Tractor: provides traceability back to the farm. Inspection standards include food safety and hygiene and basic rather than higher animal welfare standards.
Local: As more of us want to know where our meat comes from, buying direct from the farm or a farmers’ market is a guarantee of shorter supply chains, and cutting out the middle-men helps keeps costs down. Supermarkets are unable to match local distinctiveness, or choice of cuts offered by a good local butcher with prices typically no more expensive than supermarkets. Butchers can also help you choose cheaper and less popular cuts of meat that are often unavailable in supermarkets but can be cooked slowly to prepare flavoursome and affordable meals.