5 Ways to go Meat-Free this Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, when we venture out into the cold with our ‘bags for life’ to stock up with food. Many of you may be partial to a few pigs in blankets at the work Christmas party or a hot dog at your local Christmas market, but cutting out meat can be beneficial for your health; the World Health Organisation (WHO) have advised that consuming red meat is linked to an increased risk of developing cancer. Eating meat also has a detrimental effect on the environment and adopting a vegetarian lifestyle can help reduce your carbon footprint as a staggering 51% of all greenhouse gases are produced by animal agriculture. Whether you’re thinking of becoming vegetarian or just want to try some new dishes this year, consider cutting out meat this Christmas. Wondering where to start? Here are a few tips to help your veggie festivities! Read on for our 5 Ways to go Meat-Free this Christmas!

1. Load Up on Vegetables
If you try vegetarian food, you’re far more likely to incorporate your 5-a-day into your diet by default! There are many festive vegetables, but no one will judge you if you eat something a little less traditional like a vegetable stir fry. Go to your nearest market or supermarket and try some new vegetables – start eating the entire rainbow spectrum of coloured veg! Although a potato technically doesn’t count toward your big 5, they’ll play a big part in your meat-free festivities, taking on guises such as mash, gratin and most importantly, roasted!

2. Get Creative with Festive Ingredients
Try cooking with festive ingredients that may not normally be part of your go-to culinary choices. Some items to consider are chestnuts, shallots, cranberries and nutmeg. Check out some festive recipes online and start being creative with flavours. You can even consider Yuletide dishes from around the world and bring some of their exciting flavours to your traditional British Christmas.

3. Explore Alternative Sources of Protein
Try and steer away from fake meats; although the Quorn turkey slices look appealing, these mock meats are highly processed and normally high in salt and refined ingredients as opposed to whole foods. Instead, you should focus on consuming pulses, nuts, seeds, tofu and beans, which will load you up with protein. Some ideas to get you started: a warming lentil and bean curry for Christmas Eve or scrambled tofu on toast to set you up for the
Boxing Day sales!

4. Try Making a Nut Roast
A nut roast is a baked vegetarian dish made from a mixture of ground or chopped nuts, vegetables, and herbs. It may sound a little like bird food, but this dish will soon become your new best friend. Find a recipe that fits your taste preferences and have a go at baking a hearty, satisfying vegetarian loaf. Not only will your kitchen be permeated with a warm, homely feeling, it’ll make even the most avid turkey eaters at the table jealous! (Hate to say it, but who wants to eat dead birds, right?)

5. Enjoy the Trimmings!
Stuffing is such a versatile festive side dish. Do try all the mouth-watering vegetarian combinations such as sage and onion, apricot and hazelnut etc. Gravy, the liquid of gods, is simple to make and comes in many vegetarian varieties; smother your nut roast in it and let the flavours take you away. The classic Yorkshire Pudding is always a popular addition to any Christmas dinner and they can be so flavoured to create savoury or sweet delights, made in any size or shape. Let this classic side dish take centre stage this year.

Get your family and friends involved with your meat-free Christmas creations and discover a delicious, delectable, enchanting world of vegetarian and vegan treats! What healthy recipes do you think will go down best this Xmas? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (This season keep well, keep moving and Keep YOUR Fit ON! With very best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2019 from Keep Fit Kingdom! 

Anna Redmayne-Porter

Anna is currently finishing her BSc in Nutrition, which is where her passion for health and food comes from. Being a long-term vegetarian, she likes to experiment with plant-based cooking. She plans to enter the world of food development after graduating. She also has a great love of animals. You can also find her on Instagram @be_free_with_anna

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