Which of these comes to mind when you think of microwave meals?

  1. Processed, unhealthy, unappetising
  2. Nutritious, fresh and plant-based

I’m assuming you’d pick the first set of words, and I don’t blame you – I did too! That was until I found out about New Norm, a plant-based meal delivery service that makes delicious and sustainable alternatives to your standard supermarket microwave meals.

About New Norm

New Norm is a plant-based meal delivery service based in Edinburgh. It started when Norma wanted to try a plant-based diet to improve her overall physical health. As a result, Norma switched from eating on auto-pilot to intentionally making informed nutritional choices. She went from feeling bloated and lacking energy to lighter, brighter and with more energy.

With our daily lives getting busier and busier, we still want to eat healthily and responsibly. Similarly, New Norm’s plant-based meal delivery service take the overwhelm out for those just starting out on their plant-based journey. They have a wide selection of meals you can pick and choose from, or you can also subscribe weekly to get full day of plant-based meals that include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Recently I had the privilege to collaborate with Norma, the founder of New Norm to do some food photography for their website and social media. Having photographed and tasted a selection of their meals, here are my thoughts on how New Norm makes plant-based eating, easy, enjoyable and environmentally friendly.

1/250 | f/2.5 | 35mm | ISO 160

1. Easy

Each of New Norm’s plant-based meals can be prepared in the oven or in the microwave. On days where I didn’t have time to prepare a healthy dinner, it was handy to be able to just take one out of the freezer. It gave me the peace of mind that no matter how busy my day was, I had a tasty and easy to prepare meal waiting for me.

One of the plant-based meals I tried was the Teriyaki Tempeh that had two generous tempeh ‘steaks’ on top of a bed of stir fried vegetables and quinoa. With the main entree (the tempeh), your side dish (the vegetables) and your grain (the quinoa) you’re all set for a well balanced meal!

Coupled with New-Norm’s Scotland-wide meal delivery service – it’s the perfect balance between health and convenience.

2. Enjoyable

I was curious to see how the dishes would stand up to being reheated, having previous experience of microwave meals being bland and unappetising.

I was pleasantly surprised! They remained fresh, packed with flavour and most importantly, didn’t leave me feeling like I’d swallowed a cup of salt.

One of the dishes I tried was the Shepherdess Pie.

The classic shepherd’s pie is made vegan using lentils and chickpeas instead of the ground meat. Having not really grown up with eating pies, I wasn’t sure what I would think about this dish. I can honestly say it exceeded my expectations. Previously as an omnivore, I could do a like for like comparison, and New Norm’s plant-based version is so much more interesting in flavour (it has sun dried tomatoes!) and textures and I think may have converted me into a pie eater…

New Norm plant based shepherds pie
1/125 | f/10 | 35mm | ISO 160

3. Environmentally friendly

You’ve likely already heard that eating a predominantly plant-based diet is better for the environment. In fact, it has a bigger impact that eating locally (but I’ll save that story for another day).

But by just how much?

A study in the journal Science found that

Moving from current diets to a diet that excludes animal products has transformative potential,
reducing… 5.5 to 7.4 billion metric tons of CO2eq (a 49% reduction)1

An almost 50% reduction ain’t small!

Making the simple switch from eating meat say 4 days a week, to 3 days a week is a great first step towards reducing our carbon footprint.

In addition to the meals being completely plant-based, virtually all of New Norm’s packaging is plastic free and biodegradable. The only small amount of plastic they use is the plastic film that seals the boxes, which they are currently working on eliminating entirely.

To sum it up

All that said, it was a great collaboration to be a part of for causes close to my heart. I really admire all the work that New Norm is doing to challenge public perception of having a plant-based diet by making it easy, enjoyable and kind to the environment.

What’s your take on plant-based diets? Have you tried any?

What are some changes you can make to work towards a more plant based lifestyle?

References

1 Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers

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