How To Substitute Meat In A Vegetarian Diet
With the World Health Organisation announcing recently that there is a proven link between certain meats and cancers, and increased awareness of the environmental impact of meat consumption, there are plenty of reasons to want to reduce or eliminate meat from your diet.
For people who want to start a vegetarian diet or those with certain health conditions that should reduce the consumption of animal protein, it is important to know which foods work best as a meat substitute and will keep us in optimum condition and with suitable levels of iron and other nutrients in the body. A balanced diet is essential to keep us healthy, so let OneHowTo.com explain how to best substitute meat in your diet.
Certain conditions such as arterial hypertension, high triglycerides, high cholesterol and other diseases can force us to reduce the consumption of red meat and pork; but if we fail to create a new dietary balance we may begin to have nutritional deficiencies, such as decreased levels of iron. Similarly, if you become a vegetarian it is very important that your body gets all the nutrients that use to come from your meat consumption through other food sources so to maintain optimum health.
One of the best meat substitutes are legumes. Their large range makes it hard to tire from them and they are easy to incorporate into our daily diet. Let start with lentils. Lentils are a great source of protein, fibre, vitamin B, minerals and good to fight constipation and lower cholesterol. Their preparation is very simple, you can eat them in stews, soups, salads, as a side dish or work them to make delicious veggie burgers.
Chickpeas are very popular in Mediterranean cuisine and are another great alternative to replace meat. Their versatility means you can incorporate them into stews and soups and you can also make humus, a healthy and perfect snack for any time of day. This type of legume does not provide as much protein as lentils, however its iron content is nearly three times that of meat, which makes it a great choice for vegetarians.
Beans, in any of their many types, are another legume that is highly recommended. They can be cooked in multiple ways and provide many benefits to our health. Above all they are a great source of energy.
Soy beans we all known are one of the best meat substitutes as there are many ways to prepare and eat them, and as a result it is one of the most popular alternatives to meat. You can drink it in milk format or as part of another drink or eat it in tofu format, as a sauce, add its sprouts to your salads and vegetable casseroles for a crunchy and delicious touch or use the beans in a variety of recipes. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is the most popular alternative to replace meat in dishes that are normally made with animal protein such as burgers or meatballs.
Soy is the only protein with 22 different types of essential amino acids, it is a strong antioxidant, promotes retention and absorption of calcium and is a great ally of our health.
Cereals such as rice, oats, wheat, barley and corn are an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates and minerals, becoming an essential food group for all those who want to replace meat in their diet.
Similarly, nuts are also an important source of proteins. A daily handful of preferably unsalted nuts, be it peanuts, almonds, pistachios or sunflower seeds, offer a good dose of protein, minerals, vitamin E and various nutrients that promote our health. For in between meals they also make an excellent afternoon snack that is nutritious and healthy.
Egg is also a good substitute for meat. You can eat only the white if you want to avoid the cholesterol that is in the yolk or if this is not a problem eat it whole, but cooked in a healthy way such as boiled, as opposed to fried. It is a great source of protein and ideal for breakfast or in a salad.
For more information about a vegetarian diet, you might like to read more about iron supplements for vegetarians.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How To Substitute Meat In A Vegetarian Diet, we recommend you visit our Healthy living category.