7 Great Meat Substitutes to Try in the Kitchen

    7 Great Meat Substitutes to Try in the Kitchen
    Have you considered the health benefits of removing meat from your diet? As a physician, your health is of the upmost importance. You need to be at your best in order to provide your patients with optimal care each day. Physicians have a large responsibility of not only caring for their own health, but that of others too. Removing meat from the diet has been shown to increase energy levels and help the body function more efficiently. However, many people get stuck when looking for something to replace the protein that meat previously provided them.  

    There are many other sources of protein, some that mimic the texture and taste of meat, and some that are completely independent in nature.  It is proven that having a nice variety of new food choices will help people to stick to healthy lifestyle changes. Below are seven different meat substitute options to help you transition off of meat. Tofu is a bean curd made from soy milk that can either be silken, soft, medium, or firm in texture, depending on the preparation.  It’s almost non-existent flavor leaves it a very flexible source of protein, as it sucks up whatever flavor it’s cooked with. Silken tofu can be used in smoothies, pies, yogurts, soups, and other soft foods.  Medium and firm tofu’s tend to be used more like meat would be used; cut into cubes, strips, or crumbled.  Tofu can be used in many types of recipes from stir fry to egg scrambles.  When purchasing tofu, however, look for organic and non-GMO (genetically modified). Tempeh is a soy product that is made from cooked and fermented soybeans that are then molded into patties. Rich in iron, calcium, and B 12 this product is great for substituting in fish and chicken dishes. Textured Vegetable Protein (also called TVP) is a high protein, high fiber meat substitute that is made from soy flour.  It is available in a variety of flavored and unflavored varieties, as well as sizes from flakes to large chunks. TVP is typically used in recipes that call for ground meats such as pastas, soups, and stews.  TVP is usually purchased dry which requires that it is soaked for 10 minutes to be reconstituted.  Next time you are making spaghetti and meat sauce or meat chili, try using TVP instead of your typical ground meat. Seitan, also called wheat meat, has a chewy texture very similar to chicken.  Its high protein and soy free content make it a great alternative for those who may be allergic to soy products. Seitan can be used in almost any recipe. Its porous nature helps it to absorb flavors easily. However, people who are allergic to wheat or gluten should avoid this substitute. Portobello Mushrooms are a surprisingly great substitute for steak.  Their thick, juicy, and meaty texture mimic the tenderness that a cut of steak might have. Portobello’s are great for grilling, and will soak up marinades and sauces very well. They are also low in cholesterol and have a great nutritional value.  Besides using Portobello mushrooms in place of steak, they can also be used in stir fry’s, casseroles, and soups. Bulgur Wheat is a whole wheat grain that is rich in potassium, iron, and is low on the glycemic index.  Bulgar is typically used to make tabouli, but is also great for making vegetarian sausages and meatloaf.  It easily absorbs the flavor of whatever seasoning you use.  Bulgur can also be used in soups to give texture as well. Next time you want a hearty vegetarian breakfast, try bulgur wheat sausages with a side of southwestern scrambled tofu. Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peas are great sources of protein and can be used in a variety of recipes for a meal packed with folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium.  Beans and lentils can be made into patties and burgers, and go well with all types of sauces and spices.  Beans & peas can also be used in stews, soups and with rice.  Lentils are particularly great when made with curry.  Next time you are craving a burger, try a black bean or lentil burger and top it with a tasty chutney of your choice! There you have it! Seven new ideas to incorporate into your diet plan in place of meat. I challenge you to give it a try for at least 1 week. What do you have to lose, besides possibly a few extra pounds and fatigue? See how a diet free of meat can affect your daily energy, patient interactions and overall wellbeing. You may be surprised at how delicious, satisfying and light these substitutes are! Maiysha Clairborne, MDCopyright 8/4/2015

    Read 561 times Last modified on August 30, 2015
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