Monday, August 31, 2009

September - Eat Less Meat challenge

I've taken the challenge issued by Dixiebelle from her Eat At Dixiebelle's blog (the mere sight of which will make you hungry, I promise) to make September an Eat Less Meat Month, as well as Fair Trade Chocolate Month.

I'll be honest, I hardly ever eat chocolate, so this part of the challenge won't be a problem at all, although I'll have to be vigilant on the occasional choccy treats the kids may have.

The Eating Less Meat will, however probably live up to the word "challenge". I happen to love legumes, pulses, vegetables and tofu, and would quite happily live on them. My children, however, are another story. The mere sight of anything green on their plates guarantees an instant whingy chorus of "Mu-u-u-u-u-u-m! Do we HAVE to eat the (insert name of offending green item here)!

It's still something I want to do for a huge range of reasons, most of which are already outlined perfectly on Dixiebelle's site, so I won't go into too much detail. Personally, though the main benefits for me and my family are as follows:

Health - I'm determined to put a bit more effort into coaxing my stubborn offspring gently along to a healthier diet, one that includes a much wider range of fruits, vegetables and legumes than they currently tolerate.

Cost - As a single mother who is fully expecting to be fired later today from her most recent part-time job, this one's fairly obvious. As I nearly only ever buy free range, organic meat anyway, it can get pretty costly. Lentils, by comparision, are nearly free!

Environmental issues - Many more of the planet's resources are required to raise livestock for meat than are required for vegetarian alternatives. More information available on Dixiebelle's blog.

Education and awareness of all the above points for my children. I hope they will learn something by this little challenge. They are going to be invited to assist with meal planning, shopping and food preparation, and I'm hoping they'll take a little interest in the "why" of the whole exercise as well. That may be a little hopeful on my part, but it's worth a shot! During the same month we will also be planting our home veggie garden, which will round out the experience for all, I hope. Details of what I'm planting to be found here.

My next step is to mealplan my first week, which I'm hoping to do after work today (unless I do actually get fired, in which case I'll be too busy drowning my sorrows in a vat of wine). Again, I'm counting on Dixiebelle to help me with this, as she's already put together a few weeks' worth of menu suggestions and hey, why re-invent the wheel, right?

Stay tuned for screams of horror from the mini-Tiaras as they realise what September holds for them!



dixiebelle said...

Hi Sparkly Tiara,

Sounds good... except the getting fired part! Oh, no, that is not good... hopefully the old saying "When one door closes, another opens" applies to your situation!

My fussy kids really love Cheesy Bean nachos, which I do in the microwave in 40 seconds (or can be done in the oven/ under the grill)... just put some corn chips (organic/ plain, whatever) on a heat proof plate, the spoon over some baked beans, squirt a little tomato sauce or salsa if they like (for the lycopene!), some grated cheese and zap/ heat til melted/ bubbling... let cool! Then add sour cream, guacemole or sliced olives, if they eat that! This is quick, inexpensive and baked beans are good stuff!!

Other no meat ideas for fussy kids, are empanadas or quesadillas (hides the vege's well) or tortilla pizza, topped with cheese, sauce, mushrooms if they eat them & some chopped chargrilled vege's (which are sweeter) or anything else they eat! Good luck!

Thank you for your support!

daharja said...

Hi - I'm new to your blog, and just followed through from Dixiebelle's Challenge.

Just do the best you can. It's a hard challenge. And, in the end, a month doesn't really matter - what matters is what you do for the rest of your life.

So if you find the challenge hard, why not try to continue the habit, but with an easier version? A lot of Kiwis (I'm in New Zealand) are doing Meatless Monday now.

And if you think about it, if everyone just did vego food on Monday, we'd reduce the amount of meat consumed on the planet by one seventh! Which is far more than just a few challengers going meatless for a month here and there!

I think any change that is worthwhile has to be sustainable, but I also think you're doing an awesome job in giving this a go. So good luck! :-)

Daharja (from Cluttercut)

Sparkly Tiara said...

Hi Daharja, and thanks for stopping by! I am actually hoping to continue this on as a regular thing, perhaps yes, with something like Meatless Monday plus a couple of other meatless days.

I totally agree with you on the impact it can have globally if more people were to examine their eating habits, and the way they affect our world.

I'm actually really excited to get started! I shall head off and visit your blog now :-) The more support along the way, the better, I reckon.

(oh, and Dixiebelle, I didn't get fired, whew, lol!)

Spiralmumma said...

Great idea! I'm almost vego, as of aboout the last 3 weeks LOL. I do eat salmon when I go to mum's as she cant comprehend the idea of a meatless meal..LOL. But I only eat vego at home and already the savings are becoming apparent. My kids are the same, so I do still buy chicken sticks, fish fingers etc, esp for the girl who wont touch most normnal foods so she needs protein somehow *sigh*. But the boy will eat a few of my vego meals, esp nachos, tacos or enchiladas with refried beans and lentil bolognese.

Chocolate is another matter. I try to go fairtrade when i can BUT chocolate is my weakness i must admit so I often buy non fairtrade too. Will try to improve there!

Eco-Chic-Mummy said...

Good luck Sparkly T! I am already a vegetarian and very fairtrade chocolate aware, so I'll skip this one, but will be following your efforts to convert your children!

I keenly remember my Mum's weekly "vegetarian night", with strange recipes like "boomer balls" and "corn loaf" which used to make me gag... Poor Mum! I'm sure these days I would love them!

S3XinthePantry said...

I think we have about 2 - 3 meals a week w/o meat...but summertime and grilling... we grill veggies too. I honestly think William and I like meat more than our little monsters.

Good post there are so many yummy veggie things to eat now!

Nap Warden said...

Husband lost his job a few years back. We totally cut back on meat just to save money. He is now employed, but meat hasn't really crept back into the meal plan. Oddly enough...we don't really miss it. Good luck!

Post a Comment