Vegetarianism and Veganism is increasingly being considered a mainstream lifestyle choice which is no longer driven purely by concerns about animal welfare, but increasingly about desire for a healthier diet, fuelling the huge wave of individuals moving towards a part-time plant-based and vegan diet.
Traditionally, vegetarian and vegan diets consist of eating non-animal products, in which some may say could lead to nutritional deficiencies, usually stemming from lack of protein. However, those wish to find a balance are opting to become flexitarian, making a conscious effort to consume less meat and animal bi-products.
So, to help you on your way to flexiarianism, The Naked Nutritionist, Daniel O'Shaughnessy Dip ION FdSc mBANT CNHC, has pulled together his ultimate tips on making the most out of this new trend, and how to create fantastic vegetarian and vegan meals…
Making the most out of flexitarianism
Opting for more plant-based meals can mean you’ll hit your 8-a-day fruit and vegetable target quicker, but most importantly it’s vital to eat a range of coloured food to provide antioxidant benefits to the body.
Frozen fruit and vegetables are fantastic as they offer assured nutritional value. Always make sure you have a stash in the freezer. You can even use frozen fruit and vegetables in smoothie mixes to add a burst of chilled freshness!
Making vegetarian and vegan meals more interesting
Use marinades and salts, such as mushroom salt, to increase flavour – this is amazing on eggs, vegetables and as a tofu marinade. To create your own mushroom salt, take 2/3 cup salt, 1 ½ cups of dried porcini mushrooms, 1tbsp of rosemary and a pinch of dried chilli and process in the Panasonic MK-F800 Food Processor.
Another easy tip is to experiment with replacing the meat with vegetable alternatives, for example by using beans or mushrooms as a burger patty which can be created in the food processor.
Broths are also really simple to create and are really tasty! You can create your own vegan broth from vegetables and add soy sauce and red/white wine vinegars to add flavour.
Try your hand at easy one pot meals such as tofu curry with rainbow vegetables, which is simple to create in the Panasonic NN-CS894 Combination Microwave. To make an even creamier curry, try adding coconut milk or yoghurt.
Make use of lentils, pulses and whole beans which are a rich source of dietry folate, and add turmeric which serves as a great anti-inflammatory and also supports the liver.
Use nuts, seeds and fruit to bring a grain dish to life. You can use the combination microwave to make rice or quinoa, then add in some delicious toasted seeds, fresh pomegranate and vegetables once it’s cooked and cooled.
If you do decide to jump on board the emerging flexitarian trend (or even go full-time veggie!) you needn’t feel bored by bland dishes. As Daniel explains, there are a wealth of delicious, simple meals that you can create in your own kitchen using fresh fruit, vegetables and pulses - and experimenting is half the fun!
Why not use Daniel’s cooking tips to help give you some inspiration on how to take your vegetarian and vegan meals to the next level, and see what brilliant dishes you can create!
Daniel O'Shaughnessy Dip ION FdSc mBANT CNHC is working with Panasonic UK, who are committed to helping consumers experience fresh eating through their innovative small kitchen appliance range.
For more vegetarian and vegan recipe ideas and inspiration, head to www.theideaskitchen.co.uk