In a nation where ‘meat and three veg’ has traditionally ruled the dinner table for generations, and a family BBQ or dinner at the local pub typically serves up a piece of steak that’s so big it takes up half the dinner plate – it’s good to see that millions of Australians are starting to shift towards a more plant-focused, flexitarian diet.
Recent research conducted by Food Frontier has revealed that 1 in 3 Australians are consciously trying to limit the amount of red meat they eat. It’s no surprise that 57% of vegans and 61% of vegetarians are millennials, but perhaps a more interesting statistic is that 43% of Australian meat-reducers are baby-boomers.
When asked about their personal motivation for the shift towards plant-based eating, HEALTH was the number one reason Australians choose to eat less meat, closely followed by a four-way tie: the environment, animal welfare, cost and the availability and variety of plant-based options now available.
It seems Australians are finally getting the message that eating less meat and more veggies is better for our overall health and helps to combat chronic disease.
Why Aussies are eating less red meat for their health
We now know that that eating too much red meat is linked to health risks including heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Recommendations from health authorities including The Australian Heart Foundation and the Cancer Council Australia state that we should reduce our weekly intakes to 350g, served up in 90-120g portions spread out across the week. This includes steak, lamb, sausages, and our beloved Sunday roast.
But sticking to just 350g of red meat a week is a daunting thought for many of us, especially when the average T-bone at the local pub is 400g – which we devour in one meal.
As Aussies, we are so used to eating red meat at most meals, particularly at dinner time. So how on earth can we achieve eating just 350g of red meat a week, spread over 3-4 meal occasions? A simple answer lies with a blend of mushrooms + mince.
The Blend is an easy way to reduce meat.
Many of us think it needs to be an all-or-nothing choice of living a life of either beef or beans. It seems our recipe repertoire is hard-wired into us, handed down over the generations, no wonder many of us feel that to change our ‘red meat habits’, we need to learn new recipes and a whole new way of cooking. Changing habits of any kind is a difficult process, which is why a change in diet is often difficult for some to adopt long-term.
The good news is, with the help of the mighty mushroom and ‘The Blend’, we don’t need to change our diet or learning new recipes.
As it turns out, as a multicultural society, Australians love minced meat meals. Dishes such as spaghetti bolognaise, chilli con carne, tacos, meat balls and burgers are arguably some of the most popular dishes served up in most Australian households. In fact as a nation around 30% or so of the red meat dishes we eat, are made with mince.
There is an easy opportunity for us to reach our reduced red meat goals, by re-thinking how we cook and prepare our favourite minced meat dishes – by simply substituting some minced meat for finely diced mushrooms in our nation’s most popular dishes.
The Blend is simple.
The most successful trends are easy to understand, and easy to adopt. Which is why the blend is on trend for those wanting to reduce their meat intake or serve their family more nutritious meals – that they will actually eat!
The blend of mushrooms and mince is a straight swap of ingredients. If you are cooking a spaghetti Bolognese and the recipe calls for 500g of mince – use the 50/50 method and substitute half the mince for mushrooms. Without any other changes to the recipe, you have instantly reduced the amount of meat you serve your family, and you have boosted the nutritional value – thanks to mushrooms.
The straight switch for equal parts of mince to mushrooms not only results in a more plant-focused dish – but thanks to the umami flavour of the mushrooms, the dish retains a meaty flavour.
The blend is a simple cooking method which is an easy habit to adopt, its healthier and it tastes great.
It’s no wonder more Australians are taking up the trend to blend mushrooms with mince.