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This week, 23-29th September is Meat Free Week, which is all about giving up meat and adopting a plant-based diet for the week. By participating in this challenge, you are not only benefiting your own health, the health of the environment but also raising money for organisations who promote this important message.

For some, 7 days without meat, may sound like an impossible task. However, with a little forward thinking, creativity and having an open mind, this challenge can be easier than it sounds.

From a food perspective, we often think we cannot cope without specific foods, for some this may be coffee and others chocolate to end the night. However, once they are taken away, we naturally adapt and usually find we no longer miss what has been removed from our diets.

At the end of the week, I am sure you will be surprised by how much meat you ordinarily consume and how meat free meals are an equally enjoyable substitute. In fact, some of the meals you try during the challenge may become family favourites to have on rotation.

If you are on the challenge, to help inspire some new ideas, below I have listed some easy meat free swaps for common meals:

Bacon and egg wrap >> egg, spinach, avocado and feta cheese
Ham or salmon omelette >> leftover veggie, tomato and herb omelette
Mince on toast >> lentil bolognese on toast

Other meat free ideas
Smoothie using milk of choice, leftover fruit, nuts/seeds
Avocado, tahini and tomato on sourdough toast
Chia pudding topped with seasonal fruit, coconut and nuts/seeds
Muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt
Corn and zucchini fritters with mashed avocado
Breakfast plate with grilled mushrooms, avocado, tomato, spinach, hummus, sauerkraut and chickpeas

Roasted beef sandwich >> smashed chickpea, roasted pumpkin and avocado sandwich
Ham and salad wrap >> grilled tofu, beetroot hummus, spinach, sprout and avocado wrap
Thai beef salad >> haloumi or tofu and roasted sweet potato salad
Teriyaki chicken sushi >> tofu, veggie or avocado rolls with miso soup

Other meat free ideas
Nourish bowl using leftover roasted veg, spinach/rocket, hummus, avocado, fresh tomato, chickpeas and nuts/seeds
Greek salad and tossed with a can of chickpea for an express idea
Tofu and veggie rice paper rolls
Quick scramble eggs with rice, spinach, tomato and feta

Beef or chicken stir-fry >> tofu, tempeh and/or mushroom
Mince patties >>lentil and sweet potato patties or zucchini fritters
Chicken curry >> tofu or chickpea curry
Beef bolognese sauce >> lentil and vegetables
Mince lasagne >> lentil and roasted vegetable or a roasted vegetable stack
Meat and 3 vege >> ricotta stuffed mushrooms and roasted vegetables

I shared my Raw Spicy Avocado Soup with Pistachio Salsa Verde from my Falling in Love with Food Cookbook with Meat Free Week. To view the recipe and many more meat free ideas, click HERE.