As many people choose to follow vegetarian and vegan diets for health and ethical reasons, there are also a growing number of people who choose to eliminate meat from their diets for environmental reasons. According to PETA, “Eating a vegan diet (free of meat, fish, and dairy products) is the single most effective step an individual can take to help protect the environment.” In addition to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, cutting out meat reduces water consumption, land use, and energy use.
Healthy meat substitutes for vegetarians can be found in many grocery stores, including tofu, seitan, and tempeh—which are ideal for meat substitutes if you’re a vegetarian, but are also great for anyone looking to add more meat-free options to their diet.
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What is a Meat Substitute?
The term “meat substitute” is somewhat ambiguous. It can refer to any of the following:
Plant-based foods that look and taste like meat, such as veggie burgers or Tofurky. These are often processed in some way to make them more like meat. They may be made from soy, wheat gluten, beans, or other plant-based foods.
Plant-based foods that don’t resemble meat but are used as substitutes for meat in recipes, such as nuts or cheese. These are usually unprocessed and can be eaten raw (for example, cashews).
Meat substitutes made from animal products such as seafoods (such as imitation crab) or fungi (such as shiitake mushrooms). These can be processed or unprocessed.
Are Meat Substitutes Healthy?
When you talk about food and health, one issue that often comes up is meat substitutes. People are often confused about whether they are healthy or not. To understand this issue, it’s necessary to look at the differences between meat and meat substitutes, and also to distinguish between processed and unprocessed meat. Ultimately, there are several factors that affect whether or not meat substitutes are healthy.
When I refer to meat substitutes here, I am talking about the first kind of food—the processed kind that resembles meat. This includes fake chicken patties and veggie burgers when they are frozen and packaged for sale at supermarkets and health food stores. This type of food tends to come with a lot of ingredients you might not expect to find in a burger patty!
Processed vegan meats also tend to contain artificial flavors, additives, antibiotics, preservatives, stabilizers and colorings—as well as extra fat—and can contain higher levels of sodium than regular meats. Processed vegan meats also tend to have higher levels of saturated fats and trans fats than regular meats do; these raise cholesterol levels which can increase your risk for heart disease.
And some people find it difficult to digest these foods because they contain fibers which our digestive system isn’t accustomed to breaking down.However, there are many exceptions on both sides: certain companies make healthy vegan burgers using only whole ingredients without additives or fillers.
There are also plant-based proteins that aren’t processed at all—such as tempeh and tofu—and these tend to be healthier options even when they do contain some added fat.In fact, tofu has been found in several studies to have beneficial effects on heart health.
As with anything else you eat though, moderation is key—too much fat can lead to weight gain even if it comes from plants!
Some brands use only whole ingredients without additives; other brands use fillers and additives. If you buy processed vegan foods at the supermarket (or order vegetarian meals at restaurants), you should know there’s more going into the food than just vegetables!
What is the healthiest meat substitute?
A quick perusal of the vegetarian section of your local grocery store will reveal a dizzying array of options, both ready-to-eat and raw, ranging from the familiar (tofu) to the exotic (quorn, a fungus-based protein, and seitan, or wheat gluten).
But which ones are your best bets?
Well, that depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re trying to be a healthy vegetarian, lentils and beans are your best options. They provide lots of protein with few calories and lots of fiber (this is why they make you feel full). Lentils can be eaten whole, cooked in stews or soups, or ground into flour. You can also buy them canned or dried and keep them on hand for quick meals.
Black beans are another good choice; they’re high in fiber and low in fat (they have more protein than lentils).
Nuts and seeds, like black beans, are high in both fiber and protein (but not necessarily low in fat), so while you should snack on nuts if you like ’em, there’s no need to overdo it.
Most meat substitutes are high in sodium, unhealthy fats, saturated fats, and even cholesterol. Some are
Soy is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians who don’t eat meat—one serving of tofu contains about 10 grams—but soy has been criticized by some health experts. Soy can have estrogen-like affects on the body when eaten in large quantities. If you do choose tofu as your go-to meat substitute, keep tabs on how much you eat; too much soy can affect thyroid function , which could lead to weight gain.
If you want to get more soy in your diet but don’t want all the controversy attached , look for edamame instead; it’s essentially baby soybeans that have been steamed or boiled—you’ll get the benefits without the risks .
made from soy, which can cause allergic reactions and even hormonal changes in some people. But there are some alternatives out there that are healthier—that you can feel good about, if you choose the right ones. The best way to get the protein, vitamins, and minerals that you need to thrive is to eat a variety of foods in moderation.
What is the best tasting meat substitute?
From tofu to tempeh and beyond, the world of meatless meat substitutes has come a long way from the sad, bland, rubbery blocks of tofu you may remember from your college days.
The best tasting meat substitute is often something the meat eater has never tried before! But how can you know for sure what is the best tasting meat substitute if you don’t know what it is?
The most important thing is to experiment with a wide variety of meat substitutes. There are many different types of meat substitutes on the market, and they all have their advantages and disadvantages. It is up to you to find what works best for your own taste buds. Remember that when you eat a meat substitute, it is very important to season it as well as one would season real meat. You want all the flavor possible out of each bite!
Here’s a short list of some popular meat substitutes:
This is by far the most popular alternative protein source in the world. It comes in several different textures from soft and silky to extra firm packed in water or vacuum-packed in aseptic boxes (to prevent spoilage).
This is actually wheat gluten, which makes it a completely plant based protein source. Of course, like tofu, this product can be seasoned with any number of ingredients to give it that distinct “meaty” flavor that so many people miss when making the transition into becoming vegetarian or vegan.
In recent years eggplant has become a popular substitute for chicken in dishes such as eggplant parmesan, or even fried chicken cutlets. The main problem with using eggplant this way is that an eggplant contains very little actual nutritional content.
Tempeh was originally discovered by people living near Indonesia but has now made its way around the world wherever people find themselves living without access to affordable animal flesh products. Tempeh is made from cultured whole soybeans formed into cakes about ½-inch thick which makes them resemble firm veggie burgers once cooked up.
What is the best tasting plant-based meat substitute?
The best tasting plant-based meat substitute we’ve found is the Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips. It’s a great tasting product and it’s made with pea protein which makes it a high quality protein source, not to mention they are non-GMO verified.
What is the best vegan cheese?
The best vegan cheese on the market in our opinion is Daiya Cheese. They have a wide variety of cheeses that all taste amazing and are great for pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni & cheese, or anything else you’d use normal dairy cheese for.
We also love Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet Shreds for Macaroni & Cheese and other recipes that call for shredded cheese. This company has been making plant-based products since 1970 and their commitment to quality shines through in their products.
What is the best vegan ice cream?
If you’re looking for delicious vegan ice cream then So Delicious Dairy Free Ice Cream will definitely hit the spot! Their Coconut Milk Ice Cream is our favorite because it tastes just like regular ice cream but without all the dairy!
Just make sure you read the ingredients on any product because some contain sugar alcohols and/or stevia sweetener which can cause tummy trouble if consumed in large amounts.
If sugar alcohols bother you then try out Halo Top Ice Cream. This is an excellent alternative to more traditional ice creams because it only contains about 60 calories per serving! It’s made with almond milk so as long as you’re okay with consuming dairy from nuts then it should be fine for most people who have sensitivities to cow’s milk or soy milk based products due to casein & lactose intolerance (casein & lactose are proteins found primarily in cow’s milk).
How do vegetarians get enough protein in their diet without eating meat?
There’s actually no one way for vegetarians to get enough protein; different people find different combinations of plant foods work best for them. The key is to eat a wide variety of protein-rich foods, including soy products (such as tofu and edamame), legumes (such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, and peas), eggs, nuts, and seeds. (For example, you might eat tofu alongside a grain dish, or a nut butter and some toast.) The exact amount of protein you need each day depends on your gender, age, and activity level.
What is the best source of protein for vegetarians?
For vegetarian people, it is not always easy to get all the protein you need in your diet. Most people think of meat when they think about protein, but the truth is that there are many other sources. Some proteins are considered complete proteins which mean that they contain all the essential amino acids that the body needs. One such source of complete protein is Quinoa, which is a gluten-free seed that is an excellent source of nearly complete protein.
In conclusion, as a vegetarian, you may feel that you are missing out on the joys of eating meat. However, some good substitutes exist. This may come as a surprise to you but even though vegetarians do not eat meat, they can still get the protein and energy that they need. Just remember to choose healthy meat substitutes and combine them with other foods that contain protein, such as beans or lentils.