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Keeping fish off our plates, and our oceans alive

As a family business, all of our products that we make are created with our children and grandchildren in mind. Our current food system is totally unsustainable and if we keep on going at our current rate, there will be nothing left for our future generations to survive on. Indeed, as the Native American proverb goes: “We do not inherit the ocean from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

We are driven by our own family’s need for food that has a light impact on the planet and by our own children’s livelihood in the years to come. This is why we started creating meat-free products. It became apparent, however, that it’s not only the forests and the land that are impacted by our food choices, but the oceans as well.

The ocean covers 71% of the earth’s surface, serving as a major component of our ecosystem. It is responsible for every two breaths we take. The ocean produces more oxygen than the entire world’s rainforests. It absorbs almost half of the carbon dioxide. 86% of drinking water comes from the oceans. Our survival is closely linked to the survival of the ocean. Yet it is under threat due to overfishing, ocean dead zones, pollution, species extinction, habitat destruction, climate change.

With scientists confirming that we could see fishless oceans by 2048, we were determined to create a plant-based alternative to fish. Sure, we had already created the Fry’s Battered Prawn-Style Pieces – which, through our customers’ purchasing, resulted in over 3 million prawns from being caught in 2018! But we needed something else. We needed something bigger, better, and different, and that would save our oceans and the lives of millions of sea creatures. And we needed something that would nostalgically speak to good ‘ole fashioned fish and slap chips, wrapped in newspaper, that also contained the same amount of omega fatty acids as tuna.

The idea behind creating a fish-style fillet began when my family was at the beach. My youngest son saw fish being caught in the distance. As a young, passionate ocean lover who dreams of becoming a marine biologist and protector of the seas he was deeply saddened at the thought of ocean life being killed; and so asked his grandparents what they could do to help. This sparked the idea to create a product that offered the taste, texture and versatility of a piece of battered fish, the Fry’s Fish-Style Fillet!

What is the state of our oceans?

  • 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted.
  • As many as 2.7 trillion animals (fish and by-kill) are pulled from the ocean each year, by fishing methods such as trawling, purse seine, long lines, explosives, and other techniques that are damaging ecosystems.
  • As many as 40% of fish caught are discarded every year.
  • 1/5 of fish worldwide are incorrectly labeled. This means that seafood labels cannot be trusted.
  • Animal agriculture is fueling sea life depletion at a rapid rate.

How are land animals negatively affecting our seas?

Pigs, chickens and cows being responsible as the world’s leading oceanic predators. Farmed land animals are the leading causes of sea pollution, species extinction, habitat destruction and ocean dead zones. Our appetite for meat is affecting the state of our waters.

Why is this the case?

  • Livestock operations on land have resulted in more than 500 nitrogen flooded dead zones in our oceans around the world due to waste runoff.
  • Pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in the production of feed crops poison waterways.
  • Animals are sometimes fed fish as part of their diet, further depleting the seas.

Could farmed fish (aquaculture) be the answer?

  • Farmed fish are unhealthy: They are fed antibiotics, and prone to many bacterial pathogens and diseases that are highly contagious due to the crowded pens in which they live. Their waste and parasites spread to nearby wild fish, plants and the surrounding ecosystems too.
  • The ocean is still being depleted: 1/3 of all wild fish caught are fed to farm animals and farmed fish.
  • It is not energy efficient: takes up to 2kgs of fishmeal to produce 0.4kg of farm-raised fish sold in stores.

What then is the solution?

To stop eating fish – there is no such thing as sustainable seafood. We can no longer fish at the scale that we are currently doing, otherwise, we could see fishless oceans by 2048 and we will not be able to survive.

  • As a society, we all need to reduce our global demand for meat and animal by-products. This means switching your meat with a plant-based alternative (like our burgers, nuggets, sausages and pies), taking part on Meat-Free Mondays, or going entirely plant-based!
  • We need to switch to fish-free plant-based alternatives. You can try out our new Fish-Style Fillets and Battered Prawn-Style Pieces.
  • We must limit the use of agricultural fertilizers.
  • Farms must implement effective water treatment to offset chemical run-off.
  • We need commitment and change on a local, national, and global level from the public and private sector and consumers.

We are the only hope for the ocean. And the ocean is our only hope for survival.

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By Tammy Fry, International Marketing Director of The Fry Family Food Co. and Director of Meat Free Mondays in South Africa

About the author:

Tammy is a dreamer, a philanthropist and a person who believes they can change the world.

As the eldest daughter of the Fry Family – three generations of vegetarians and makers of plant-based protein foods, she is a passionate advocate for plant-based nutrition and cruelty-free foods.

She has been at the helm of product marketing at The Fry Family Food Co. and Director of Meat Free Mondays in South Africa and Australia for over a decade.  In these roles, she is guided by nutritional expertise, a love of fitness, love of the environment, and an outdoor lifestyle. Enabling others to live a happier and more energetic lifestyle through plant-based nutrition is the cornerstone of her passion.

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Rising tide lifts all boats: Conversation between two plant-based pioneers

Especially in the era of fierce competition in business, even in the plant-based sector, it is truly rare to find two competitors as openly friendly and supportive as Seth Tibbott of Tofurky and our own founder, Wally Fry.

The two had a chance to renew acquaintances when Seth traveled to Australia on business in November and met up with his friend of many years in two comfortable armchairs with Noosa Harbour as a backdrop. The spirit of collaboration is very much alive with the two founders and plant-based pioneers. There is a common belief that the two brands are aligned in purpose and in values and it’s refreshing when competing businesses with the same mission not only get along but provide each other advice and support.

Their respective stories are similar as well. When Wally and Seth started making their foods there was very little interest in veganism and therefore very few plant-based options in the marketplace.

An ecologist at heart, Seth started Tofurky as a response to having little eat over the holidays other than salad and “maybe a few mashed potatoes.” Having very little money, he rented four trees from a neighbor for $25 a month and set about building a treehouse in which to live, all the while developing what would eventually become a worldwide brand. More than a few times during the lean years, Seth’s tax accountant would ask, “how are you still in business?”.

However, Seth was driven and committed to his mission, and the first Tofurky holiday product was introduced in 1995. Immediately it was a hit, selling 500 units. In an instant, Seth went from his phone never ringing to repeated calls from mainstream news outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Seth and Tofurky had arrived.  The business has continued to grow over the years and today, the company’s food products are in 25,000 stores worldwide.

Wally also started his company from humble beginnings. His start in business came, ironically, in buying and selling livestock. Times were lean, and Wally lived in a concrete-walled house with one room, with no bedroom, no bathroom and no running water. “I had to go to the river to get my bathing and drinking water,” Wally recalls.

But something happened along the way to the one-time meat eater. He eventually met his wife Debbie, a life-long vegetarian, and their first child, Tammy, who would ask why chicken drumsticks were called “drumsticks” from an early age, was vegetarian from birth. It was during this time that also Wally started to research the environmental effects of factory farming.

Things came to a head when Wally, now in the construction business, built a 1,000-cell piggery in South Africa. After its completion, Wally returned to the piggery months later and the conditions in which he saw the animals were housed would leave an indelible mark on him. “I was ashamed at what I had done,” Wally admits.

Wally immediately became a vegetarian (and later a vegan) but decided if he would go the meatless route he had to develop products that had the same taste and texture that their meat-eating counterparts enjoyed so, as Wally puts it, “I didn’t feel cheated.”

Propelled by his feverish enthusiasm, Wally started mixing ingredients in his family’s kitchen in stainless steel pots and a two-plate burner. The products caught on and friends, family members and locals began buying those initial Fry’s products. Eventually, Wally realized he needed a factory to service the exploding number of stores looking to carry his products.

From these humble beginnings, both companies have flourished. Tofurky sold its 5 millionth vegan holiday roast this past Thanksgiving and Fry’s is coming to the U.S. this winter after already conquering 37 countries around the world.

The spirit of cooperation and coexistence is born out of both men’s understanding that the plant-based food sector today is far different than the one they knew even ten years ago. They understand that their respective companies need not be greedy in competition with each other. Both companies want quality vegan products to succeed, both for altruistic reasons and also because it’s an easier sell to be a part of a category that is spiraling upwards. Both men have morphed from begging for shelf space to fielding pleading calls from supermarket buyers for more products and lines.

The aphorism that a rising tide lifts all boats certainly applies to Wally and Seth. Both men share an intrinsic belief that the world needs to go plant-based for health, environmental and animal welfare reasons. Both believe that all plant-based companies will benefit as we move from a meat-centric diet to one rooted in plants. And rather than seeing each other as competitors, Wally Fry and Seth Tibbott have a deep-seeded belief in partnership for a greater good.

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Our 10 favourite plant-based Fry’s recipes from 2018

Our 10 Favourite Plant-Based Fry’s Recipes from 2018

Thanks a melon to all of you for making 2018 such an incredible year of plant-based goodness! We have rounded up our favourite meat-free, dairy-free and egg-free recipes from the year. It may be the end of 2018, but these meals certainly will not go out of style next year.

From the Fry family and team, we wish all of our #FrysFans a healthy, happy and plant-powered holiday season.

Fully Loaded Nugget Braai Boat 

Live the #nuglife and sail away on a braai bread boat. Whip up some lekker South African tomato and onion relish and layer with mielies, dairy-free cheese and crispy Fry’s Chicken-Style Nuggets (or use our gluten-free Rice Protein & Chia Chicken-Style Nuggets). This meal will go down perfectly over the summer braai holiday season.

Chaka-Lekka Burger Pie

This burger pie has all the local, lekker flavours made with our meat-free Traditional Burgers, wrapped in puff pastry, chakalaka sauce and dairy-free cheese! Serve with some chunky potato wedges and salad. What is chakalaka? It is a South African vegetable relish, usually spicy, that is traditionally served with bread, pap, stews, or curries. It’s chaka-lekker!

Mac and Cheeserpiller

As a family of three daughters, one of our childhood favourites that our mother loved to make was a homemade creamy mac and cheese in bulk that we could eat for days! We have reimagined this fond recipe with added veggies in a dairy-free cheesy sauce and topped with our meat-free Polony/Slicing Sausage. Have some fun and play with your food by tracing a little caterpillar around the bowl.

Veggie Nice Tortilla Cones

Did someone say ice cream tortillas?! This super fun Veggie Nice Tortilla Cone recipe is topped with our Chickpea and Roasted Butternut Balls and Chickpea and Quinoa Falafels, served with smashed avo, beetroot hummus and microgreens. This creative meal will go down perfectly with the kids, at a party, or with anyone who likes to have a bit of fun with their food!

Prawn-Style Corn Chowder

Say Ciao to this delicious dairy-free and plant-based chowder. Made with chunky bits of corn and potato, and a dash of coconut cream, this warming soup is topped with our Battered Prawn-Style Pieces.

Korean BBQ Beef-Style Tacos with a Quick Pickled Salad 

Get your grill face on, because this recipe is on fire! Try out this Korean BBQ Beef-Style Tacos with a Quick Pickled Salad for a flavour sensation! Made with our Thick Cut Chunky Strips and assembled in warm tacos, wilted spinach, pickled salad, spring onion and chilli flakes.

Rainbow Wrap

Eat the rainbow with this colourful wrap filled with bright veggies and our Golden Crumbed Schnitzels. Go by the recipe or choose your favourite vegetables to make your very own beautiful plate of food art.  And who knows, maybe you’ll find a pot of gold waiting for you at the other end of the table… Go take a look!

Schnitzels with Creamy Dill Sauce and Dairy-Free Potato Salad

Potatoes and schnitzels, anyone? Bake our meat-free Golden Crumbed Schnitzels in the oven, followed by a generous drenching of a creamy dill sauce. Then, serve with a tangy German-inspired potato salad made with gherkins, mustard and chives. You can’t go wrong.

Mezze with Tuna-Style Dip

We don’t mezze around… Dice and blend our versatile Polony/Slicing Sausage in a food processor with egg-free mayo, herbs and spices and you have yourself a fish-free, sustainable tuna-style patè! This makes a great plant-based holiday or festive starter dish. Serve with our Chickpea and Roasted Butternut Balls and Chickpea and Quinoa Falafels on the side for extra points.

 

We wish all our #FrysFans a peaceful and healthy year-end. Thanks a melon for an incredible 365 days! 2018 was #lentil! 2019 is going to be another big year for us and we can’t wait to share new products, store listings and more. Keep your eyes peeled! #peas

Get a sneak-peek into what is in store for us next year: http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/162/183231.html

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Grow a mo, bro, and try plant-based this Movember

It’s been three years since The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the cancer agency of the World Health Organisation (WHO), classified processed red meat as carcinogenic to humans. It caused a ripple effect, resulting in more and more people to rethink their meat consumption.

But time has indeed moved on, and it’s been three years, and one could argue that this topic has perhaps lost its novelty and spark. We believe however this is a discussion that needs to be brought to the (plant-based dinner) table once again. Why? Well, it is officially Movember and in South Africa, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men across all population groups according to this study by the South African Journal of Surgery.

While men grow their ‘tashes during the month of November in the name of fighting against cancer, we thought it was a dandy time to speak out about how eating more veggies can lower one’s risk of cancer and lead to a sustainable, healthier life!

Men, your risk of prostate cancer can be reduced with the same diet that helps to prevent most cancers: a diet that’s high in fibre, veggies, fruit and beans and low in saturated fat. It’s time to switch from flipping that piece of meat on the braai to a plant-based alternative. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got some tips, advice and recipes for you and to share with friends and family.

1. Chow on colourful fruits and veggies

A plant-based diet rich in colourful fruits and vegetables means more vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients, all of which protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer. Consuming more than five servings of vegetables and fruits a day has actually been associated with a decreased risk of cancer. Throw in a zucchini or some kale in your smoothie or add some sprouts and microgreens to your wrap.

Kale and Kiwi Smoothie

2. Pass the fibre

Research shows a link between consuming fibre-rich whole grains as part of a low-fat diet and a reduced risk of cancer. The benefits of whole grains extend beyond their fibre content. They are packed with healthy nutrients, and the synergistic effect of B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, phytoestrogens and antioxidants all together protect us from chronic diseases and cancer. Types of whole grains to include are: Whole-wheat seeded bread, oats, brown rice, rye bread, barley buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, and legumes including baked beans, kidney beans, other dried beans (home-cooked or canned), lentils, split peas and chickpeas.

Meat-Free Prawn-Style Coconut Curry

3. Choose a low-fat diet

Saturated fats like those found in animal products, dairy and processed foods increase men’s risk of cancer. Replace them instead with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like avocado, olives, seeds and nuts. Fatty acids like omega 3 (which includes: chia seeds, flaxseeds, soy products, walnuts, hemp seeds as well as leafy greens) are also something you should add to your diet – they act as a natural anti-inflammatory, and chronic inflammation is linked to medical conditions like arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

Buddha Bowl with Chicken-Style Burgers & Hummus

4. Pick prostate-protecting plants

Include tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste, all containing lycopene, along with soy foods, cruciferous veggies like kale, cabbage and broccoli, followed by green tea. These foods help fight cancer risk so consume them regularly, and let food by thy medicine.

So, making changes by reducing your intake of saturated fats can lower your risk of cancer. Chop it from your diet, and increase plant-based alternatives instead, and you’ll be doing a lot to safeguard your heart. As an example, a 150g lamb chop contains 21.3g of Total Fat, while a Fry’s plant-based meat alternative like our Traditional Burger Patty of the same size contains 6.6g of Total Fat. Plus, the patty comes with a bonus 0.9g of fibre to bolster digestive health and support healthy blood cholesterol levels.

November also happens to be World Vegan Month, so if you’re not yet convinced, why not see these next 30 days as a fun challenge at trying to eat plant-based? See how you feel at the end of the month and take it from there! #challengeaccepted

#Movember is more than growing a ‘tash – it’s about getting more colour, texture and variety on the plate For recipes to inspire you, your man and friends around, check out the diverse range of free plant-based cookbooks, including recipes for the braai master, athlete, health nut and parent here: https://www.fryfamilyfood.com/za/our-vegetarian-and-vegan-cookbooks/

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Healthy and plant-based on a budget! (Yes, it’s possible!)

One of the main things I get asked from people when talking about healthy, plant-based eating, or eating clean, is how to do it on a budget. When I hear people say that their shopping bill has taken a knock since they went vegan, I wonder where and what they are buying. I have spoken to friends who were once meat eaters and who now eat wholly plant-based, and they all agree with me that swapping the beef for the beans has resulted in a shrinking grocery budget.

When my hubby, Rich, left his salary just over a year ago to start his own business, the budget was tight and we had to make some personal budget cuts.  Yet, we managed to halve our food budget! And we managed to do it without sacrificing our health. Of course, we could have loaded up on bread and peanut butter, noodles chips, but our goal was to still cook well-balanced and nutritious meals – that’s the goal, surely – without overspending.

If your goal is to be healthy and happy without breaking the bank each month, take a look at what I’ve tried and tested with my own family:

Go Plant-Based

If going plant-based is something you haven’t fully put into practice yet, I suggest taking the plunge! With the World Health Organisation declaring processed meat as a carcinogenic and red meat in general possibly causing cancer, it seems then that eating meat may result in high medical bills later down the line. To avoid spending your money on going to the doctor and on medication, you can reduce that risk by choosing to eat more plants! According to this study eating a plant-based diet may be a simple, low-cost intervention to preventing heart disease. And there are many more studies that are continuing to prove a plant-based diet can help reverse diseases like obesity, high blood pressure, types of cancer, type-2 diabetes and arthritis.

Buy in Bulk for your Base

If you fear to eat the same thing every day – I know I like to switch things up – I suggest purchasing three different packages of different “bulk bases” which you can rotate over a few weeks and form the base of your meals. Find your nearest bulk food store or the bulk food section at your supermarket for cheaper bags of beans, pasta, flour and grains like rice, oats, barley and cous cous. Also look for starchy root vegetables, like potatoes and sweet potatoes which are not only cheap and filling but also very nourishing. Be sure to rotate your bases too so the nutrition you get varies.

Buy Seasonally & Frozen

Check out your seasonal food guide (based on where you live in the world) as a planning guide so that you can shop seasonally. It’s cheaper and tastier! If possible, going to a farmer’s market and buying directly from the grower is more cost-effective. Additionally, frozen produce can be cheaper than fresh – I know this can’t be done with all fruit and veg, but doing it here and there can make a huge difference. These fruit and veg are flash-frozen just hours after they have been harvested so one could argue that they are more nutritious than fresh produce. For an economical meal, I like to make a soup by adding frozen veggies, veg stock, spices and some legumes like lentils (which I sometimes buy dried and then soak and boil myself).

Planning on a Full Stomach

Plan your weekly snacks and meals ahead of time (a bit of a hack on a glorious Sunday afternoon, but well worth the 10 minutes of your time!). This results in less waste and unnecessary purchases when you’re in the supermarket. Also, just don’t go shopping when you’re hungry… It is much easier to resist those just-in-case items when you’re not thinking about when you’re going to get your next bite to eat!

Special Occasions and Deals

Vegan meat alternatives, like Fry’s, obviously don’t cost the same as a bag of dried chickpeas, but sometimes you may be craving such foods or want something quick and easy to make. Often Pick n Pay, Checkers, Shoprite and Spar run special promotions so can you work them into your budget. These stores run deals like buy-one-get-one-free or bulk pack specials which is always a good time to stock up the freezer. When comparing meat alternatives to actual meat, you will find that the prices are competitively priced, sometimes with meat being double the cost! Next time you’re at the grocery store, compare the prices and you will be surprised!

Get Cooking

Cooking from scratch can save you heaps.  It also doesn’t need to take hours of your time – especially if you’ve planned what you’re going to cook. I cook everything we eat for my family and we rarely eat out. Eating out should be a very occasional treat or avoided altogether if you’re on a budget. When I prepare my meals, I always cook in large batches and freeze the leftovers. And if I see some produce starting to look a bit worse for wear, I either cook them that day or freeze them immediately.

Some of my favourite recipes to make for the family include:

All of these recipes can be made in bulk with frozen vegetables, a few spices and a cheap grain or starch as the base. Swapping your meat with one pack of Fry’s (like the Mince or Strips) is economical and sustainable and makes the cooking process really simple!

Eating on vegan on a budget with Fry's

Those “Peanuts and Red Bull” Purchases

Petrol stations can wreak havoc with your food budget – ask us, we know!  When Rich and I first got together, we just couldn’t seem to save money.  We spent one month keeping the slips from every purchase we had made.  We found the problem – “peanuts & Red Bull”! We now have our own personal budget item called “the peanuts and Red Bull” expense, which is for those last-minute, unexpected, must-have items that all of us get sucked into buying at some point in the month.

Grow What You Can

We may not all have the space to grow our food, but with a windowsill and some TLC, you can grow things like herbs, peppers, radishes, lettuce and kale. Start small and add more pots when you feel ready. It may feel like an effort initially, but once you get the ball rolling, there is nothing quite like picking your own homegrown produce!

Some Parting Thoughts

Of course, we need to remember that there is always an uphill battle we have to fight. In David Simon’s Book “Metanomics”, he discusses the complex economic forces behind the production of meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, and how the decisions around what we think we choose to eat are made by the animal food producers who control our buying choices with artificially-low prices, misleading messaging, and heavy control over lobbying, legislation and regulation. So while we are told to increase our fruit and veggie intake, more than half of agriculture subsidies directly or indirectly support the meat and dairy production with less than one percent benefiting fruit and veg producers, as reported by The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

If it seems like the cost of eating a plant-based diet will never decrease, I understand your frustrations but each one of us can make a difference! Keep voting with your fork, join and support vegan advocacy organisations, and share the health and economic benefits of a plant-based diet with those around you. Every person can make a difference!

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Mimi’s Story: How a plant-based diet has improved my health and lifestyle

This is my story of how a plant-based diet has improved my health and lifestyle, as a cancer fighter and survivor of 2 years. Before my cancer diagnosis, I led a healthy, active lifestyle and enjoyed cycling, yet I ate animal products occasionally. I wondered what changes I should make towards a plant-based diet and how I could implement this in my life but I never actually went through with it.

A sore throat, flu and cough led me to visit my doctor at age 26 in 2014. I couldn’t walk, breathe properly or chew and swallow fish, chicken or meat that I regularly ate.

My physician found that my lungs were compounded with litres of water stored and a lymphoma cancerous tumour was growing on my lungs, slowly crushing them.

There was also water found on my heart, and immediate heart failure was a risk I was facing. I only had hours to live, with a very weak body, which needed nutrition.

During the ICU surgery and chemotherapy in hospital, soft, nutritious foods were recommended. These were the only foods my body could swallow and digest. I switched to only eating vegetables, which felt softer on my throat.

It’s amazing how much extra energy it takes to swallow and digest animal food, in comparison to a spoonful of butternut.

I managed to eat healthily, be patient for the tumour on my lungs reduce in size with chemotherapy and I learned to breathe alone without a ventilator. I maintained the plant based-diet during chemotherapy and fought my cancer tumour.

I have now been cancer-free for two years! I’ve followed Fry’s online recipe books and I’ve now managed to maintain a plant-based diet with the help of Fry’s and many Vegelicious articles. I am healthy and I swam a mile in 50 minutes this year!

I love sharing all the links to Fry’s online recipes and I’m so grateful to Vegilicious for recommending places to eat out. My work colleagues, friends and family understand and witnessed living proof of the benefits of a plant-based diet. The Fry’s recipe books, online recipes and colourful boxes make it healthy and user-friendly at the same time!

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Packed with plant power

Earlier-than-usual wake-ups, rushed mornings, AM traffic… Moms and Dads, it is that time of year again: It’s back to school. But before you rush out of the door with a measly peanut butter sandwich and a bruised banana trailing behind a flurry of bouncing ponytails and half-done school ties, we have got just what you and your child need in preparation for healthy and tasty meat-free lunchbox meals. If your child is already plant-based or is transitioning, there are many ways to make plants nutritious, as well as fun and exciting for even the pickiest of eaters.

Once viewed as nutritionally inadequate and even harmful, a plant-based diet is becoming more accepted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), doctors and dietitians around the world as healthful, affordable and sustainable. Indeed, a plant-based diet is suitable for individuals across all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence and for athletes, according to the largest group of nutritionists in the U.S, the American Dietetic Association. A well-planned and balanced plant-based diet can provide many health benefits in the prevention and treatment of a multitude of diseases including diabetes, some cancers and heart disease.

So what’s the secret to preparing balanced meat-free meals all year round? If the lunch box comes back with half-eaten greens and sandwiches, and you find yourself settling once again back into the old lunch-making routine, there is no need to fret. We have a few tips for you and a number of meat-free meals that are easy to make, for all ages.

plant power
Sure, we love our PB&J sammies but there are many other options out there that are just as simple. With a little bit of imagination, it is easy to pack a lunch that your children will gladly devour.

We begin with the power of C². Fill your kid’s lunchbox with a variety of colour and crunch. Strips of red, yellow and green bell peppers make great rainbow food while bite-sized pieces of Fry’s Vegetarian Pops or Fry’s Polony Slicing Sausage with grilled veggies on a kebab stick gives texture and adds interest. View your child’s lunchbox as a mixed media art piece filled with all kinds of colours, textures and shapes. Likewise, allow your children to have fun creating their own food art. In separate containers filled with fresh and dried fruits, nuts and cereal, encourage them to design “pictures” on their non-dairy yoghurts!

Dips and sauces are your draw cards when offering raw vegetables. When packing carrots, cucumber and celery sticks, add a small container filled with hummus, nut butter, or B-Well Tangy Mayo. Adding some whole-wheat pita bread, crackers, or rice cakes can jazz up the standard bread fare.

We know kids can regard fruit as boring, but there are definitely some tricks you can pull to ensure fruit seems more appealing. My mother always said, “It’s not a fruit salad unless there are ten or more fruits in the bowl!” While am I certainly not saying you need to start buying every fruit on the shelf, having a variety certainly spices things up. Small chunks of fruit, such as strawberries, grapes, pineapple or melon, served on a skewer, are almost always eaten. Bananas and apple slices are also more likely to be eaten when accompanied with some peanut butter.

If it’s too much effort to eat, it probably won’t be eaten. A little bit of prep work goes a long way in making almost all food more kid-friendly. Peel oranges, deseed peaches or cut kiwis in half so that the flesh can be easily scooped out with a funky spoon.

plant power
Who said that too many cooks spoil the broth? By actively involving your kids in choosing and preparing their school lunches, they are given a sense of responsibility in what they eat, an understanding of where their food comes from, and how food impacts their health, the planet and other beings. And as they grow up, give them more of a say in what goes into their lunchbox.

Additionally, peer pressure can also be the make-or-break in your child’s decision to toss or trade in his or her lunch. Ask them what meals their best friends bring to school and find the plant-based alternative. Consider making a twister-style wrap, veg-filled hot dog sandwich, or a chicken-style mayo sammie.

plant power
An appropriately planned plant-based diet is nutritionally adequate, healthy and satisfying. Children raised on, or who are transitioning towards a plant-based diet are at an advantage: they are at a much lower risk for a variety of health issues that will affect many of their meat-eating school friends as they grow up. An increased consumption of fruit and vegetables and a diet naturally lower in saturated fats ensures plant-based children reduce their risk of weight-related illnesses and are able to maintain a healthy body weight.

So what types of food should we focus on? Firstly, it is important to remember that children require more calories during times of growth or when physically exerting themselves. Due to the fact that plant-based diets are high in fibre, they may feel full before they have actually consumed enough calories. Be sure to include foods that are both nutritionally dense and rich in calories such as trail mixes, dried fruit or rice cakes with nut butter.

A well-balanced plant-based diet, that is filled with brain-busting foods, help with concentration during school and with the retention of homework. But our brains are picky eaters, requiring glucose throughout the day, so be sure to include whole grains, beans and legumes, fruit and vegetables so that neurons are supplied with the energy they need. Additionally, because our brains are made up of 60% fat, chia and flax seeds, nuts, beans, avocado and coconut – rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids – should be consumed daily so that your child feels happy, focused and calm.

Protein on a plant-based diet should not be a concern. If your child is getting enough variety throughout the day, he or she will obtain the eight essential amino acids that facilitate bone and muscle growth, ensuring top performance on the track and field, in the pool, or on stage. Beans, grains, cereals, nuts, seeds, meat alternatives and soy products, such as Fry’s Meat Free Mince are just some of the foods that are rich sources of protein.

Iron requirements for children and teenagers are high, and by eating a varied diet, a young vegan can easily meet his or her iron needs. Foods rich in iron include broccoli, spinach, blackstrap molasses, beans and dried fruit. To ensure that the body effectively absorbs iron, include foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers and tomatoes.

Bone density is determined during the teen years and young adulthood, so getting in good sources of calcium every day is very important for building healthy bones. And one doesn’t need to get it from cows. Products, such as Fry’s Chicken-Style Strips, leafy greens, including collard greens, fortified soy or rice milk, fortified orange juice and almonds are just some of the plant-based calcium sources.

EAT LESS MEAT FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS
Adopting a plant-based diet is not only healthy for your child, but it also has a positive impact on the planet at large, meaning future generations get to live in a safe and happy environment.

The increasing global demand for meat, dairy and eggs mean more animals, and with more animals, more crops are needed to feed them. This, in turn, leads to land degradation, deforestation, land and water scarcity, species extinction, pollution and global warming. Livestock production is not only unsustainable, it is unjustifiable. A plant-based diet offers many meat alternatives that mimic taste and texture, like the Cheeze Griller Burger Sandwich, Chick’n Strip Pizza or Schnitzel Burger, whilst requiring less land, water and energy to produce. Lessening our ecological footprint starts first and foremost with what we eat. It begins with us.

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Looking for vegan recipe ideas? Check out our free eCookBooks here!

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Love plants, love yourself

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by Wilma Tarr, Plant-Based Cook, Nature Lover

Living in a world where our priorities are unbalanced we often neglect our health and especially our diet. There are so many factors at play, not least the role of stress, eating junk food, careless substance use and chasing the skinny ideal. We use unhealthy shortcuts and chemically-laden products to clear up bad skin and add shine to our hair, we medicate symptoms and we simply ignore the tell-tale signs that reveal the truth about our health! We eat food that advertisers tell us are ‘healthy’ without questioning their motives.

This lifestyle leads to health problems and frustration over the general condition of our bodies, taking us down a dangerous path of illness and destruction.

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True health means feeling energetic, balanced and vibrant on the inside, while seeing the positive external changes as well.  Following a balanced plant-based diet, exercising, spending time in nature, getting adequate sleep and staying hydrated are all extremely beneficial for overall health and well-being.  In addition to good nutrition and dramatically reducing your risk of a broad spectrum of diseases (including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes), following a plant-based diet also provides many physical benefits. You will truly enjoy the immense health benefits and see positive external changes as well.

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A balanced plant-based diet provides all the nutrients your body needs, ensuring that your nails, hair and skin always look their best. Because of the high water content of a plant-based diet, it will supply your body with constant fluids, keeping your skin hydrated, smooth and healthy.

Whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans contain antioxidants and phytonutrients from real, whole, plant-based foods which are anti-inflammatory and filled with fibre. The mixture of proteins from grains, legumes, Fry’s, vegetables, nuts and seeds (nutritional powerhouses), provide a complement of amino acids and antioxidants. These have been shown to promote hair growth, healthy hair and skin.

This diet is not only rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients essential for health, wellness and beauty, but it is also alkalising, delicious and a powerful medicine that we all have access to every time we eat.

If you have a hard time eating greens, include them in smoothies and juices that the whole family will enjoy. Fresh juices like carrot, celery, apple and cucumber will deliver hydration and skin-nourishing vitamins and minerals. Include avocados and bananas in your smoothies for extra benefits and a supply of healthy fats for glowing skin. Variety keeps things interesting and there are infinite and oh so many delicious recipes and ideas available!

You will find that by adopting this lifestyle and making smarter, educated choices, you can eat delicious meals that are healthy and nutrient-dense, providing everything you need to feel healthy and look your best.

Wilma is a nature lover, plant-based cook, keen photographer and mother of two teenage boys. She has always loved expressing herself in a creative way not just through cooking but also through styling, writing and photography. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram to find our more about Living a Vegan Life in South Africa.

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Plant-based high protein foods

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When looking for foods that are high in protein, most people’s first reaction is to head towards the meat aisle in the supermarket. High protein foods are often thought to only come from animal sources but there are a number of health issues associated with eating a heavy meat-based diet. Increasingly, nutrition experts are advocating a diet that has protein sources that come from plants, over their animal counterparts, in order to prevent some of the leading causes of death; cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

When it comes to protein, there are a number of plant-based sources which can be higher in protein than meat. When combined correctly, plant sources such as soy, tofu, legumes and other grains can also provide all of the essential amino acids required in a healthy and balanced diet. The benefit of eating foods with high protein from only vegan sources is that they are naturally cholesterol-free and contain zero trans fats. However, the modern lifestyle demands convenience and eating healthy can be time-consuming. To find out which foods offer the highest protein without the hassle, we put the range of Fry’s veggie burgers to the test against your standard beef burgers and other veggie burgers.

These are the results:

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The range of veggie burgers produced by Fry’s Family Foods,  offer a high protein alternative to meat which is not only hassle-free but has 25% more protein than a standard beef burger or other veggie burgers. The burgers are also packed full of fibre and are naturally cholesterol-free. The range makes eating a high protein diet easy, healthier and tasty.

You will be able to get all your protein from our green boxes in the frozen food section from leading retailers across the country. 

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Power up with plant proteins

by Nicola Walters, RD (SA) – Nutritional Solutions

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The word protein may immediately bring to mind thoughts of sizzling steak and chicken sosaties on a good old South African braai. Yet, if combined correctly, plant sources such as soy, tofu, legumes, and other grains can also provide all of the essential amino acids required in a healthy diet.

Often, we think of protein as a single nutrient. In fact, proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids, of which, unique sequences and arrangements make up the different proteins that are found in foods. The amino acids are classified into groups of essentiality based on the body’s ability or produce them. Nine of the twenty different amino acids are considered essential because the body cannot make them, and as such they must be provided by the diet.

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Quinoa and Soybeans contain all 9 essential amino acids and as such can be considered complete proteins. Similarly, if legumes are combined with grains or legumes combined with seeds, the combination can also provide all 9 essential amino acids. Therefore, a plant-based diet can supply complete protein to the diet. It is important to focus not just on the protein content of foods consumed, but also on the nutrients packaged with the protein. Legumes, grains and seeds also supply optimal fibre, vitamins and minerals to the diet. Vitamins and Minerals support essential metabolic functions in the body and fibre plays a key role in the maintenance of a healthy gut. Plant protein sources also contribute higher levels of poly- and mono-unsaturated fats to the diet than do many animal sources of protein. As a result, including plant sources of protein in the diet can have a significant impact on health conditions such as cardiovascular health and diabetes. Studies have even indicated that increasing fibre, whole grains and legumes in the diet can contribute to more optimal weight management and overall health.

Nutritional Solutions, is a registered dietetic practice with all its dietitians registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa and Association for Dietetics in South Africa.