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BHF - Heart healthy meals for National Vegetarian Week

This week is National Vegetarian Week and some of you might be considering some time-off from meat and eating more vegetarian alternatives like beans, lentils, tofu or nuts.

The British Heart Foundation's senior dietitian Victoria Taylor suggests three delicious and healthy vegetarian meals for you to enjoy.

While a heart healthy diet doesn’t need to exclude meat, this is the perfect time to take the chance to try some different, meat-free meals that not only taste good but will also add some variety into your diet.

Whether you have been vegetarian for some time or have just decided to try a meat-free meal, try to make sure you still get the balance of foods from the groups shown in the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) eatwell plate.

Whether you have been vegetarian for some time or have just decided to try a meat-free meal, try to make sure you still get the balance of foods.

To replace meat, try incorporating alternative sources of protein like beans, lentils and tofu. As well as providing fibre and protein, these foods contain essential minerals like iron and one portion a day counts towards your five a day.

Although milk and dairy foods also provide us with protein, be careful not to rely on them alone to replace meat because this can increase the amount of saturated fat and calories in your diet. When you do have dairy, go for the lower fat versions like semi skimmed or 1% milk and low fat yoghurts.

This week is also a great chance for you to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. Why not try cooking these three healthy vegetarian recipes for yourself and your families?

Roasted tomato and lentil soup

The tomatoes in this soup will count towards your five a day, but the other benefit of making your own is that you can be in charge of the seasoning. Eating too much salt can affect your blood pressure. Using other flavourings instead, like the black pepper, basil and garlic used here means that you still get a full flavoured dish but without the salt.

Try this recipe

Falafel with minted yogurt dip

A filling and nutritious light lunch, these falafel contain protein from the chick peas but are lower in fat than traditional falafel which are fried.

Serving them in warmed pita with chopped fresh tomato and cucumber will balance the meal and help you towards a portion of your 5-a-day

Try this recipe

Baked samosas

By filling these with vegetables rather than meat and baking rather than frying them, the fat content of these samosas is significantly reduced. Reducing the total fat helps to reduce the calorie content which is perfect for those who are watching their weight. Switching fatty meat for lean meat or vegetarian alternatives can help to lower the saturated fat content, making them a healthier option for your heart.

Try this recipe

Join Heart Matters today!

If you like these dishes please join our free Heart Matters service, where you can access a library of over 140 delicious, heart healthy recipes and interactive tools to make healthy eating easier. We also have a selection of recipes available on our Healthy Heart Recipe Finder app available on iPhone and Android.


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