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FAQs about meat alternatives
If you want to substitute meat alternatives for meat in recipes, it's best to choose products that most closely resemble real meat to get a similar taste and texture. Beyond Chicken is an example of a product that works well in recipes that call for poultry.
Certain types of meat provide health and nutritional benefits, so many people who are thinking about adding plant-based meat products to their diet wonder about the nutritional value of these options. Whole-food plant proteins, including lentils, beans, nuts, whole soy, and seeds, contain fiber and probiotics, both of which are good for digestion. They may also contain healthy sources of fat and carbohydrates, which your body needs to thrive.
Before you buy meat alternatives, check the ingredients to see what's included in each product. Plant-based doesn't automatically mean healthier, as many manufacturers add preservatives, fat sources, and sugars to alter the taste, thus decreasing the health benefits. Some contain ingredients you won't recognize, such as soy leghemoglobin, a genetically engineered protein source, so look for options made from whole, recognizable ingredients. A good plant-based meat product should also contain 10-15g of protein.
Tofu is one of the earliest and most well-known meat alternatives. It has been around for centuries and is made from whole soybeans, while other meat alternatives are made from soybean extracts. Whole foods are always better for you than extracts and imitations, so tofu is a healthy alternative to meat. You can add it to just about any dish that calls for meat, although be aware that the texture is different. If you want it crispier, put it in the oven or add it to your favorite stir-fry dishes.
Tempeh is a firmer meat alternative made of whole soybeans, although producing it involves fermentation, which can improve digestion and nutrient absorption. Beans and lentils are also used in meat alternatives, such as black bean burger patties.
Many people choose meat alternatives to reduce their impact on the environment. Skipping meat just once per week can make a meaningful difference, according to the Environmental Working Group. The livestock industry produces various pollutants and uses pesticides that can contaminate the water supply and damage the natural surroundings. Animal processing facilities also release pollutants, including nitrogen, ammonia, and phosphorus, all of which impact the environment.
Even if you're not ready to go full vegetarian or vegan, incorporating a few meat alternatives into your diet can reduce your carbon footprint and provide an environmental benefit. However, it's important to note that all food production impacts the environment, so eating plant-based meat alternatives will not fully eliminate the environmental impact.
Adding plant-based meat alternatives might seem appealing in theory, but the question that often arises is whether these products taste good. Many people enjoy the taste and texture of meat, so they want to know whether swapping the meat for another ingredient will produce a similar taste. All meat alternatives are not created equal, so some taste better than others.
If you're looking for something that tastes exactly like meat, you may be disappointed. However, the meat alternative industry has come a long way in the recent past, and many people are reporting that newer products taste and feel more like real meat than ever before. Impossible Foods offers several plant-based meat products, including veggie burgers and a ground beef substitute that's quite similar to the real thing. The success of this product line led to the addition of Impossible products in restaurants such as Burger King and Starbucks.
If you're thinking about implementing meatless Mondays in your house or you want to cut back on how much meat you eat, incorporating meat alternatives enables you to get protein and other essential nutrients without sacrificing your goals. Shop the selection of meat alternatives available through Instacart and enjoy the convenience of having your order delivered right to your door.