Plant-based meat alternatives, such as Beyond Beef and the Impossible Burger, are sprouting up everywhere. But are these products good for you?
Plant-based meat products typically have a similar caloric content to real meat, but have less cholesterol and more fiber (good)—but also more sodium (bad). What’s more, some of these meat substitutes are over-processed and, as a result, are laden with chemicals.
There are health benefits to going meatless—if you make sure you get enough protein and other vital nutrients found in meat. And whether you eat meat or not, it’s essential to eat healthy. Make sure to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; replace saturated and trans fats with good fats; and always remember that consuming too many calories—regardless of the source—is not healthy.
In fact, some experts tout the advantages of going “flexitarian”; that is, someone who eats a mostly vegetarian diet, but sometimes eats meat, poultry, and fish. So, if you want to enjoy the health benefits of a meatless diet, you’re generally better off avoiding plant-based meat alternatives.
If you’re looking to reduce or eliminate meat, remember to keep enough protein in your diet (multiply your weight in pounds by .36 to get your recommended protein intake in grams per day). Here are a few good non-meat protein sources:
- Beans and legumes
- Potatoes (but watch the calories)
But no matter what diet you choose, a healthy one will always include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy grains.
Want to enjoy a healthy meatless option tonight? Try our Smoky “Beef” and Black Bean Chili recipe.
Smoky “Beef” and Black Bean Chili
- 1/2 pound(s) Beyond Meat
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 small yellow bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 chipotle chile adobados finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon(s) chili powder
- 2 teaspoon(s) adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon(s) cumin, ground
- 1 15 oz. can(s) black beans rinsed, drained
- 1 14 1/2 oz. can(s) diced tomatoes with green pepper and onion
- 2 tablespoon(s) cilantro chopped
- 3/4 cup(s) imagine vegetable stock
Cook Beyond Meat, onion, and bell pepper in medium saucepan over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until beef is browned and vegetables are softened, stirring frequently. Drain off any excess fat. Stir in chili, chili powder, adobo sauce, and cumin. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in beans, tomatoes, and water; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro.
Chef Liz is the Executive Chef and Owner of The Pickled Beet, a personal chef service that custom designs menus and prepares fresh, wholesome, and balanced meals catered to its clients’ specific needs, with and without meat. For a free consultation: 305-388-3536. Chefliz@thepickledbeet.com. ThePickledBeet.com
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