Auckland Council

Find what works for you

Margaret & Sam - Sandringham, Auckland

April 2021

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"The best option for us was to reduce our meat intake to the point that felt comfortable."

For my son and I, our initial motivation to live lightly was not to reduce our carbon footprint but rather for health reasons. We live together and were both concerned with the amount of meat we consumed each week and wanted to make a change.

We initially considered becoming vegan, but this only lasted two days as it was far too hard and expensive to manage for our lifestyle. We knew there were plenty of solutions out there, but we wanted to ensure the changes we made to our diet were the right fit for us. We explored different diet options, which meant we were able to personalise changes to our diet that we were able to sustain for a long period of time.

The best option for us was to reduce our meat intake to the point that felt comfortable. We started out using meat alternatives, which was a little pricey and not to our taste. Next, we tried replacing meat in our burgers with falafel, which we would either make ourselves or buy ready-made.  This worked well for us as it still tasted great. We also made nachos with refried beans, guacamole and sour cream – we found this delicious and a lot cheaper than beef mince. Introducing some meat-free days to our diet was a realistic goal that we could achieve.

Although we didn’t change what we were eating for environmental reasons, we knew eating meat was not great for the planet. We were curious to discover our carbon impact and how this related to our diet changes, which we calculated using FutureFit. We took the quiz and chose two actions that directly related to what we wanted to achieve – ‘meat free days’ and ‘replace some red meat meals with chicken or pork’. We loved the feeling of being healthier and felt good about the difference we were making for the environment too.

We are so happy with the results! Eating more vegetables and having less meat made us feel lighter and have more energy. The changes to our diet also allowed us to reduce our food waste each week – we now use our left-over vegetables to make a roasted root vegetable medley and vegetable curries that are even better to freeze now they have no meat in them.

Some resources we found useful:

Nadia’s Vegetarian Recipes

Countdown Vegetarian Recipes

Women's Day Vegetarian Ideas

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