Awesome Meat Substitutes to Try This Year is all about finding out the various ways that you can substitute meat on those days where you just feel like giving your usual eating habits a break or for those who follow a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle, this lists offers a few great ideas to incorporate in your diet. Plant Protein–the latest trend that has been transforming 2018 into a year of “no-meat” is just one of the many ways that you can say ‘yes’ to eating a whole diet and ‘no’ to eating meat if desired.
While I do not subscribe to any specific diet, as you may have seen in many of my previous posts, I do enjoy eating a no-meat diet ever so often. If you’re like me, sometimes you may just want to take a short break from eating like a carnivore or perhaps you’ve decided to take the full plunge into an ALL no-meat diet and just want some great ideas to keep things interesting and fun. Either way, I hope that this post helps you!
OK, so there are a few current trends out there that aid the ‘no-meat movement’. Of course, there are vegan desserts (which I LOVE to make; check out a few of them on your way out by clicking the link: here!), vegan cheese, whole veggies, jackfruits, and so many others. However, the main trend that I’ll be discussing throughout this post is that of Plant Proteins which make awesome meat substitutes.
Plant proteins consists of beans, peas, nuts, seeds, soys, and lentils. They are a powerhouse of good nutrition, a good source of plant protein, loaded with disease fighting phytonutrients, cholesterol-lowering fiber and naturally low in cholesterol and sodium.
Nutritional research studies have found potential associations between a diet high in plant protein and the following beneficial effects:
- Lower risk of allergies
- Lower risk of heart disease and cancer mortality
- Lower risk of Crohn’s Disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower total Cholesterol
- Among reductions in risks of other diseases, etc.
While I am in no way saying that you SHOULD eat a solely plant-based diet, I am saying that doing so ever so often may have it’s benefits. I can attest to feeling great when I do give meats and other sugary foods a break. Overall, your body has more energy, digestion runs smoother, your skin is clearer, and everything else in between. Have you experienced any benefits?
On to the list–shall we?
Awesome Meat Substitutes to Try This Year:
When it comes to eating a plant-based diet, the best meat substitutes are beans! Anywhere from black beans to lima beans to pinto beans to red kidney beans to chickpeas soybeans to, and more. Most of these little beauties include high levels of protein, fiber, potassium, and other healthy nutrients that will keep you fueled and strong! Not only that, but beans make a great burger and is super “meaty” so that you’re left satisfied after every bite. For my latest burger recipe that includes beans, check out this delicious Lobster Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger.
Ok, so lentils may look like beans, but they are in their own category! Much like their counterparts (beans)–they make amazing burgers and side dishes. Also, high sources of protein–lentils are low in calories, high in fiber, and are often linked to lowering cholesterol and reducing heart disease risks.
Raw Nuts and Seeds
Yes, these are the new popular favorites for many. They are often tossed in salads, sprinkled on desserts, added in pastas, you name it! But did you know that they are great as a meat substitute? How? Well, for one, they are just as “filling” as meats. If you’ve ever tried eating nuts in any dish, then you’ll realize just how full you became without even knowing it, right? More importantly, they are also high in protein and are super healthy, especially for the heart! Some great nuts to try: cashews, peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and many more.
Organic Tofu and Tempeh
Tofu as we know, is made from soy milk while Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans. However, in the world of vegetarianism and veganism, these two are a staple when it comes to substitutions for meat. Both can be cooked in a variety of ways (pan-fried, sautéed, etc.) and both contain high levels of protein that would leave you not missing meat at all.
Now, the best kept secret for many, Avocados have become the new “IT” ingredient for many popular staples such as avocado toast, avocado salad, avocado burger buns (Yes, that’s a thing!), avocado + eggs, avocado fries, avocado popsicles, and the list goes on. However, don’t take this fruit lightly–it’s fully packed with proteins and fatty acids that are great for you! All the better reason to eat a few of these when you don’t want to devour any meat.
While some people aren’t able to consume whole grains due to needing to eat a GF diet (Gluten-free), Celiac Disease, or for any other reason; those of us who are able to eat these grains, should! They not only provide an amazing amount of protein (especially once paired with the previous foods mentioned above), but they also provide a lot of fiber, help with your digestion, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce asthma risks, maintain blood sugar levels, protect your teeth and gums, and can help control your weight. To top things off–whole grains also make you full quicker, therefore, you won’t miss the “filling” feeling that meat gives you once you incorporate these in your diets. Great whole grains to try: bulgur, rice, oats, corn, buckwheat, quinoa, and more.
Please note: For those on a GF diet, the main whole grains to avoid are those that contain “wheat” (such as wheat berries, spelt, kamut, farro, and bulgur), rye, barley, and triticale. The rest are usually safe to consume.
Overall, substituting meats don’t have to be a detrimental task or lack in nutritional value. It’s simply all about eating the right foods and choosing the right substitutes. While there are many frozen or pre-made “meat substitutes” such as veggie patties, “imitation meats” and a host of other things, I am a big believer in keeping things healthy by using ingredients in their natural form to make the things that you want to eat. Yes, it may require a bit more effort and time, BUT at least you’ll know exactly what’s being consumed!
Do you have any other Awesome Meat Substitutes to Try This Year?