Top 5 Healthy & Tasty Meat Substitutes – Vegetarian Diet Tips

Whether you’ve been a vegetarian for years or you simply want to cut back on your meat intake, you don’t need to munch down on unidentifiable, tasteless meat “alternatives”. Here are 5 tasty meat replacements that won’t have you wrinkling your nose or plugging it to get the “healthy alternative” down the hatch.

1. Soy Protein

Soy protein is a great alternative to meat and comes in a variety of ways. From soy milk and Miso to tofu and tempeh, there’s bound to be something that you’ll like the taste of. This article will provide you with everything you need to know about soy protein, including its health benefits, what forms soy protein comes in, where you can buy it and tips on how to include it into your diet.

2. Seitan

Seitan, also known as wheat gluten or wheat meat, is perhaps the closest thing to meat without actually being meat as far as texture goes. In fact, some vegetarians don’t like seitan because it is too much like meat.

Seitan is not for everyone, however. People who suffer from celiac disease should avoid seitan, as should anyone else who experiences gluten allergies or intolerance.

3. Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

Like seitan, TVP is not for those who need to follow a gluten-free diet. Made from soybeans, TVP is low in fat, high in protein and fiber, budget-friendly, has a long shelf life and is a time-saver meat alternative. What more could you ask for? TVP is best used as a replacement for ground/minced beef or pork.

4. Legumes

Legumes are packed full of nutrition and can be used in countless of ways. Their health benefits are plenty; they’re high in protein, folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Legumes are usually low in fat and contain no cholesterol. Bean, peas and lentils are all from the legume family, as are peanuts (believe it or not, peanuts are not a nut).

5. Nuts & Seeds

Nuts are high in protein, fiber and in some cases, omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts also contain monounsaturated fats (the good fats). There are an abundance of different types of nuts and seeds, so they make for a very flexible meat alternative. My favourite use of cashews, almonds and pine nuts is to use them in a vegetable stir-fry, rather then beef or chicken; for flavour, I use a very small amount of sesame oil to cook the mixture in, no need for anything else. Mmmm! Nuts do contain quite a few calories, so don’t go overboard, thinking you’re benefiting your diet and overall health. Also, eating nuts and seeds that are loaded in salt, chocolate or other artificial flavours don’t count!

Additional Tips

Not sure how much of your meat alternative needs to be consumed to get one full recommended serving? Canada’s Food Guide can help.