How to survive cooking for vegetarians and meat eaters in one family….
In our modern age the challenge of cooking for vegetarians and meat eaters in one household is very real for more and more of us. Especially when trying to avoid one group eating too much ultra-processed foods. So how do we survive cooking for vegetarians and meat eaters in the same family? Here are some hacks to make life easier and ensure the whole family enjoy healthy, tasty meals.
survival hack number 1
Introduce family Vegetarian/vegan days for the whole family.
When I first introduced this the boys where not thrilled. But I explained we were doing it for the benefit of our health and the planet and now they have adjusted they love our vegetarian days. I always use meals they already love and switch meat for beans, peas or lentils in the same recipe. For instance, chickpeas or butter beans for mince in shepherds pie works really well. Green or brown lentils in lasagne is another great swap.
Survival hack number 2
Start by using your usual recipe such as homemade pizza, lasagne, shephards pie or curry and split into two portions at the point where you add the meat. Add beans, lentils, chickpeas or black beans to one half and meat to the other and continue the recipe as usual. It is a bit more fiddly but much easier than preparing 2 completely different meals. By making a larger portion of each you can split the leftovers into individual portions and freeze for the following weeks.
survival hack number 3
Batch cooking is your friend.
When I cook up vegetarian and meat lasagne or any other freezer safe meal, I cook enough for 4 portions of each. I then divide this up into freeze safe individual pots for those really busy days to take out of the freezer first thing.
survival hack number 4
Which meat swaps are best?
Most swaps have their nutritional benefits. The most important factor is to stick to minimally processed alternatives such as:
Chickpeas – A great meat alternative and protein quality is particularly strong compared to other pulses.
Soya – studies in the 1990’s stated health concerns of teenage girls and menopausal women eating soya products due to effects on cancer risks and menopause symptoms. I went down a rabbit hole with this one…. However upon further research, there have been some more recent studies that show the opposite is true. Adolescents who eat minimally processed soya products (as is common in Asian communities) have a reduced incidence of breast cancer later in life. It is now believed it is the high incidence of ultra-processed soya products in the western world that increase cancer risk and heighten menopausal symptoms.
Black beans – great source of protein, iron copper and zinc.
Lentils – great source of protein (25%) fibre and iron as well as B Vitamins, zinc, magnesium and potassium.
survival hack number 5
And finally …..
With some forward planning and routine it will become much easier to feed all the family. Once you have some options frozen this will make the busy evenings ie kids clubs evenings much easier.
Get your family involved too. Ask them what they fancy for the week ahead and if they say ‘I don’t know’ get them to google a recipe or look through a recipe book. They will suddenly think of something! Good Luck 🙂 xx
Zoe is passionate about healthy living and its benefit to body and mind. Get in touch today if you'd like to be stronger, fitter, and happier!