This week is National Vegetarian Week, which aims to highlight the benefits of a meat-free diet, not just to the human body, but also to the environment.
According to a recent survey, 86% of the UK population currently eat meat in their diet. Vegetarian diets are, however, becoming more popular. As of 2022, over 1.2 million people in the UK are vegetarian. There are many health benefits to a vegetarian diet. Vegetarian diets can reduce cholesterol, which could make you up to one third less likely to be hospitalised for heart disease, or other heart problems. Studies have also shown that vegetarians are at lower risk to cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and can have better bone health.
There are also environmental benefits to a vegetarian diet:
- Produces fewer emissions – Like trees, crops produce oxygen, which is hugely beneficial for the planet. Animals, however, produce methane, nitrous oxide, and other gasses that pollute the air, warm the earth, and accelerate climate change.
- Protects marine eco-systems – It is estimated that up to 2.7 trillion fish are caught each year across the world. If overfishing and pollution continues at its current rate, the number of fish in our oceans could decrease by up to 90%. By adopting a vegetarian diet, we are protecting a huge number of marine species.
- Reduces habitat destruction and deforestation – 30% of the earth’s land surface is needed for livestock, most of which is used for grazing, and the growing need for more grazing land increases deforestation. By decreasing demand for meat, we are slowing down deforestation rates and protecting natural habitats.
Here at Tops, we encourage children and their families to reduce the amount of meat they eat by following vegetarian diets in our nurseries. We have found that meat-free meals give children the exact amount of nutrients and energy needed for a day of learning and playing at nursery. We recently bought out our new summer menu, which contains a number of healthy, vegetarian meals. A few of our favourites include our new Tuscan potato gnocchi and our peanut-free Quorn katsu curry. Click here to see some some of our other vegetarian recipes!
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