Meat Substitutes or meat alternatives are the foods that have texture, appearance and taste as meat but are not meat.
As meat are rich source of protein, iron, Vitamin B-12 and amino acids. People who don’t eat meat, meat substitute can be a good option.
Meat substitutes are also rich source of protein, important nutrient for body. Research suggests that protein keeps you fuller for long, reduces the risks of overeating.
Some meat substitutes are rich in nutrients such as zinc, Vitamin B12 which are absent in vegan diet or vegetarian diet.
Some study suggests that meat can cause digestion related problems such as constipation, and diarrhea.
Another study from https://www.greensolutionsmag.com suggests that eating red meat can increase the risks of stomach or intestine related conditions. Meat are not good for environmental conditions or overall health.
Are Meat Substitutes Healthy?
Yes, meat substitutes are healthy or safe than meat, but it depends on factors such as:
- Which product you are using
- How you are preparing it
- Which meat they are comparing it with
Meat substitutes which are high in sugar, saturated fats or processed ingredients are not better than eating fish, chicken or pork.
In this article we will discuss various food products that people use as alternative of meat for various nutrients.
Tofu is condensed soy milk that manufacturers make it into blocks of varying firmness similar to hoe dairy products become cheese.
It is a great source of protein and essential amino acids that person need for good health. People use it as substitute of eggs by adding it into soups and dishes.
Many companies produce and sell tofu, so nutritional contents can vary.
Generally 1 cup of Tofu contains:
- Fat: 11.50 gm
- Protein: 20 gm
- Iron: 13.3 mg
- Calcium: 865 mg
- Calories: 188.4
- Fiber: 0.75 mg
Tempeh is an Indonesian based meat substitute. It is popular substitute of barbeque meat substitute.It has some key differences from Tofu.
It is made from whole soybean not soy milk by using fermentation process. As tempeh is a whole bean, it contains more protein and fibers than tofu. There are prebiotics present in it due to the fermentation.
People can saute or stir fry tempeh and mix it into salads and sandwiches.
Generally 1 cup of Tempeh contains:
- Fat: 18 gm
- Protein: 33.7 gm
- Iron: 4.48 mg
- Calcium: 184 mg
- Calories: 320
It is also rich in magnesium, Vitamin B-6, copper, phosphorus and fibers.
Seitan comes from wheat gluten. The production process makes it free from starch by rinsing it with water. After process there is protein enriched food that has texture similar to chicken and mild taste.
Although its nutritious nature, it is not safe for people who are living with celiac disease and follow a gluten free diet.
Generally 4 ounce of Seitan contains:
- Fat: 2 gm
- Protein: 29 gm
- Calories: 140
Seitan is high in riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin B-6, but it doesn’t contain calcium or iron.
Textured Vegetable Product (TVP)
Textured vegetable product or “Defatted Soy Flour Living Green” is a byproduct of soybean oil extraction. Manufacturers make it by separating protein from fat by using high heat process, resulting in curd like product rich in protein.
While cooking, people need to rinse it into hot water as it is dehydrated. After cooking, its texture is similar to the ground meat.
Generally 1 cup serving of TVP contains:
- Fat: 0.85 gm
- Protein: 35 gm
- Iron: 6.27 mg
- Calcium: 165 mg
- Calories: 222
- Fiber: 12 gm
As TVP produces from soy, it contains all essential amino acids. It is also rich in Vitamin B or magnesium.
Protein Rich Plant Foods
Some examples of protein rich plant foods which are rich in protein and has texture as meat and are great meat substitutes.
Vegetarian or vegan should try variety of plant foods to fulfill their need of protein, amino acids or other essential nutrients.
Anyone who feels that diet that he is consuming has not enough protein should eat meat substitutes. Choosing these products can help people who don’t eat meat to maintain a balanced diet.