Veganism is a lifestyle and diet change that is currently experiencing rapid growth around the world. More people are gaining an interest in adopting a plant-based lifestyle for a multitude of reasons, notably in relation to climate change, animal welfare, and personal health benefits.
Within a vegan diet, people try to avoid meat as much as possible in order to help save the lives of animals whilst leading a cruelty-free lifestyle.
Recently, veganism has been viewed as the optimal health diet, especially on social media sites such as Youtube and Instagram. The diet has earned this title due to its heavy focus on nutrition, as well as its avoidance of meat, many of which are rigorously processed during meat production.
The consumption of plant-based products is also more sustainable for both the body and the environment in the long run when compared to actual meat derived from animals.
Despite its popularity, veganism can be difficult and intimidating for those who are new to it. To help ease this diet transition, we have listed below some of the best plant-based meat alternatives that you can start cooking and enjoying today!
Best Plant-Based Meat Alternatives
Although shifting towards a plant-based diet is always encouraged, it is important to find good sources of meat alternatives to derive specific nutrients from. You will want to find plant-based food sources that contain the similar nutritious benefits of meat in abundance.
Luckily, there are many plant-based meat substitutes that are rich sources of protein, iron, essential amino acids, collagen, and B complex vitamins. Consuming these types of plant-based foods consistently is essential for avoiding deficiencies and maintaining high levels of energy.
We have listed below the best meat substitutes to help ease you into your vegan journey! Whether you want to go all-in, or just want to cut down on your consumption of animal meat, these plant-based substitutes are great replacements in your meals.
Tofu is very popular in Asian cuisine and is well-loved globally due to its versatile nature. For example, tofu can be used to make tofu scrambled eggs, be used as the 'meatless meat' in stir fry, and it can also produce delicious plant-based patties for burgers.
Tofu has a very subtle flavor, meaning it is perfect for nearly every dish! Due to its mild taste, tofu can be flavored using various spices, such as turmeric, garlic, and paprika.
In terms of nutrition, tofu is relatively low in carbohydrates but contains high levels of saturated fat and protein. In fact, one whole block of tofu only contains an average of 177 calories.
Eggplant is another popular meat alternative, especially amongst those looking to lose weight or restrict their calorie intake. This is because eggplant is a vegetable that is naturally low in calories, despite its bulky texture.
With between 20 to 30 calories per the average eggplant, consumers will also enjoy numerous health benefits from all the extra minerals found in the vegetable. For example, eggplants are high in B-6 and manganese, which are needed for regulating your body's metabolism, energy levels, and temperature.
Jackfruit has only recently become a global staple food of the vegan diet. A native fruit to South India, jackfruit is a large fruit that is grown on trees. It can be enjoyed in its original fruit form or developed into plant-based meat due to its fibrous texture.
Jackfruit has a very subtle flavor, so it can be easily adapted to suit any meal or flavor combination. To mirror shredded pork, jackfruit can be cut up and mixed with barbecue sauce to reproduce a plant-based shredded/pulled pork meal.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, causing it to have a high level of protein and the B12 vitamin. It can be enjoyed as a meat alternative in a plant-based burger due to its firm texture.
Many enjoy tempeh as a meat substitute as it is relatively bulky and fulfilling in comparison to other meatless meats.
For those concerned about their protein intake, soy protein guarantees a large amount of muscle-building nutrients in each bite! It is also very low in saturated fat, so it is one of many great plant-based options for those looking to lower their cholesterol.
Seitan is made out of wheat gluten, so it should be avoided by those following a gluten-free diet. Naturally savory in taste, seitan is a popular choice amongst plant-based meats as it tastes faintly similar to chicken.
It can also be easily flavored by seasonings to help emulate a certain taste, such as BBQ chicken.
Naturally rich in iron, beans are also a great plant-based protein! Beans can be added to any meal to build up consistency and make a meal more satisfying.
In most restaurants, a veggie burger will be made out of beans as they have a subtle flavor with a firm texture, enabling them to be considered the best burger substitute amongst most vegans and vegetarians.
Chickpeas have traditionally been used in vegetarian and vegan-based recipes for hundreds of years. They can replace ground beef in pasta dishes, as well as smashed together to create a ground meat look-alike veggie burger.
Much like eggplant, mushrooms are another popular alternative to meat products due to their low-calorie content. They are also bulky and share a similar texture to meat.
Dieters may find lentils more fulfilling than other plant-based alternatives as they contain a significant amount of fiber. Fiber moves slowly through the digestive system, helping to reduce hunger levels and sugar cravings.
Another common plant-based meat alternative is cauliflower. Containing no fat and just 25 calories in one serving, cauliflower is the best meat replacement for plant-based diets focused on weight loss.
Out of all the plant-based proteins, pea protein has become one of the most commercially used plant-based ingredients within the ready-made food industry. It is usually used within sandwiches, wraps, and salads to emulate the flavor and texture of chicken.
Plant-Based Proper Good Meals
For delicious, ready-made plant-based meals, Proper Good offers a wide range of healthy vegan meals, including the following:
- Southwest Chili: This tasty chili is flavored with smoky beans and contains 19g of pea protein!
- Butternut Squash Soup: Made with turmeric and coconut milk, this delectable soup is gluten-free.
- Spiced Pumpkin Soup: This thick warming soup is gluten-free with no added sugar!
- Quinoa and Brown Rice Blend: Boasting a healthy 6g of protein, this rice blend can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Every Proper Good meal can be cooked in under 2 minutes with no preparation required and is always made using clean, healthy ingredients.
In summary, a plant-based diet focuses on consuming less meat and eating more whole foods with high nutritional content. Proper Good provides delicious plant-based meals with functional clean ingredients and zero sugar. Proper Good also provides various subscriptions and several other programs that offer discounts for ongoing deals and enjoyment!