In France, meat consumption has been declining for several years now. Without completely eliminating the cuts of meat and fish that we love so much, eating smaller portions would have many benefits to our health, our environment and above all, animal welfare – there are many arguments to eat less and to eat better. Let’s start by looking at the health argument, championed by the Green Monday movement to stop eating fish or meat on Mondays.
According to the Planétoscope of ConsoGlobe, on average, the French eat 1.5kg of meat per week, while only 500g weekly are officially recommended.
Such overconsumption of meat increases the risk of putting on weight, becoming * diabetic and suffering from colorectal cancer **. Indeed, red meat and sausages are particularly harmful in large quantities.
Current animal breeding methods produce a lower quality of animal meat and is therefore less beneficial to our health. So we should either consume less meat of better quality, or eliminate it completely.
And what about our children?
Proteins are obviously essential for the proper development of our children, however, we need to pay attention to quantities. Did you know that the daily recommendations for a 5 year old child are either 50g of meat or fish? This corresponds to only a slice of ham or an egg, for example. At age 12, these recommendations increase to 100g per day, to two slices of ham or two eggs.
Red meat is not the only source of animal protein recommended by the PNNS (National Health Nutrition Program): it clearly specifies to alternate between meat, fish and eggs, stating that we should eat two portions of fish per week, including a fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, anchovies or mackerel).
In primary schools, meat is offered at each meal, usually four times a week; often without any variant of fish which would ideally be vegetarian. At the end of the day, meat is often consumed by the whole family which then doubles the daily intake of children.
Green Monday, without meat, is an approach that ultimately increases the portion of vegetables on your child’s plate (and in yours!) by eliminating the portion of meat. It is therefore a very positive initiative to draw attention to its overconsumption and the diseases it causes.
How can we reduce our consumption?
Alternate between different meats; fish, eggs, without forgetting vegetal proteins including pulses which are found in most food shops. Remember, pulses are often under rated but have many advantages.
At Maïa Baudelaire, we will adapt our menus to your tastes when putting together your weekly program. Our family program also includes menus designed specifically for your spouse and your children so that the whole family has a balanced diet. This will allow you all to regain and maintain to a balanced weight and hopefully make you feel better about yourselves. Of course, all of these menus can be with or without meat – the choice is yours! We have many recipes at hand, especially involving legumes. All our programs are carefully monitored by a qualified dietician-nutritionist who will be there to support you on your journey.
*Vergnaud, A.-C., Norat, T., Romaguera, D., Mouw, T., May, A. M., Travier, N., … Peeters, P. H. (2010). Meat consumption and prospective weight change in participants of the EPIC-PANACEA study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92(2), 398–407. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28713
**Wang, X., Lin, X., Ouyang, Y. Y., Liu, J., Zhao, G., Pan, A., & Hu, F. B. (2015). Red and processed meat consumption and mortality: dose–response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Public Health Nutrition, 19(05), 893–905. doi:10.1017/s1368980015002062