6 top tips to eat less red meat

Eat less red meat. This is something I am coming across more and more in the media. But maybe you don’t need to, or maybe you don’t want to. And that’s okay. If you are interested in eating less meat, whatever the reasons, read on and explore my tops tips.

Eating poultry isn’t bad for your health, and eating fish is particularly good so when transitioning, make sure to include these foods for an overall healthy nutritional intake. This will make meeting your nutritional requirements easier as you reduce your intake of red meat more generally.

1. Record your meat intake 

Is it a bacon roll for breakfast, a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch followed by a burger or spaghetti bolognaise for dinner?  if you know how much you normally eat you have a baseline from which to bounce.  Of a possible 49 meals per week, based on a 3 meal per day 7 days a week scenario, write down how many meals actually contain meat.  That’s your starting point

2. Choose a meal or a day to change

If you never eat meat at breakfast, but it’s always part of your other two meals then changing perhaps your lunch to a plant based, or white meat option (chicken, turkey or fish) provides a straightforward and simple win.  You can still eat red meat at dinner but you will be sitting back, feeling good that you have been making efforts throughout the day to reduce your overall intake of red meat.  If your overall intake is already low, and you want to change further then choose a day to be completely plant based.  Meatless Mondays is a great place to start.  You can obviously combine both options and have both meat free meals and meat free days

3. Reduce the amount or the frequency 

Another way to reduce your overall intake is to vegetable up your plate and reduce your serving size when you do eat red meat.  Having one less sausage or a mix of veggie and meat sausages, or adding a tin of kidney beans to your meat based bolognese will budget friendly your meal and add some plant based protein and fibre.

4. Plan your meals

No matter what type of healthy endeavour you are trying to achieve, when it comes to food, planning is key.  There is not a dietitian in the world who will argue this point.  We know from all the trials around health behaviour change that having a meal plan is crucial to making food based change happen.  After all, you have likely been eating a certain way for a very long time.  When you first start planning you don’t have to make the menu complex.  Instead go for easy wins e.g. scrambled egg on toast rather than a full English breakfast, or baked potato, beans and cheese rather than a meat sandwich at lunch.

5. Think differently

Once you have started reducing your overall intake of meat you can then start to get a little adventurous:

Check  supermarket magazine for recipes

Look online.   Check recipe  reviews  for tips or modifications

Google your favourite chefs.  My favourite chefs are Nigella and Jamie 

Ask your friends. Most everyone has vegetarian and vegan friends these days, they are often the source of the best recipes

6. Watch your portions

Plant based protein is not as filling as animal based protein, for the same caloric intake, and it can feel easier to over-consume.    Be mindful of the recommended servings sizes with any recipes you are using. Sometimes it’s sticking to the portions around those plant based meals that then becomes difficult. But that’s a weight loss story.

And if you need some help to get started, please get in touch.
Felicity Lyons

Hi there! My name is Felicity. I am a registered dietitian and sports nutritionist with a proactive approach to healthy living. My job is to interpret the complexity of nutrition science and translate it into messages and guidance that you can understand. Healthy Living? It's easier than you think!