In recent years, more and more people are turning to vegetarian food.
Athletes, inspired by the example of Scott Jurica (one of the most renowned marathon in the world that adheres to a vegan diet since 1999), too, decide to give up meat. But changing your diet is more than attempt to replace meat with a vegetarian equivalent. This is an important change in your lifestyle.
So vegetarian versions of your favorite foods, like chicken nuggets without the meat or Italian sausages of tofu, actually not much healthier than their meat counterparts. Most of them have been severely processed and contain large amounts of sodium. Regardless, you went on a vegetable diet for weight loss or believe that vegetarianism will make you stronger and tougher, pay attention to the list below to learn about the worst meat substitutes and how to fill your plate with healthy protein vegetable dishes.
The worst meat substitutes
Veggie Burger and vegetarian chicken nuggets
Usually, frozen vegetarian meat substitutes do not contain much fat, but they have a lot of salt. For example, the average veggie Burger contains about 400 mg of sodium.
The nuggets even worse: serving veggie nuggets contains a third of the recommended American heart Association daily requirement of sodium. Some foods were cooked in a sauce or marinade, which of course adds spice and flavor, but increases the sodium content and monosodium glutamate. If you are going to adhere strictly to a vegan diet, carefully study product labels. In some products, in fact, it is possible to detect a protein of animal origin.
Want to accelerate muscle growth? Adding whey powder to your morning smoothie will help you with this. However, it is not necessary to turn it into one of the main sources of protein. According to nutritionists, supplements cannot replace high-quality proteins contained in meat or dairy products. If you prefer supplements, choose unsweetened powder that contains natural ingredients.
Roasted, salted nuts
Nuts contain a serving of healthy fats in addition to protein, but if they’re covered in salt or sugar, it will bring you more harm than good. Snack honey roasted, not raw almonds adds to your diet a teaspoon of sugar and 60 mg sodium. Additionally, roasted nuts are likely to contain not much useful elements. Roasting kills a large number of nutrients.
Deli meats from the tofu
We all have heard many times that tofu is a protein, energy and healthy product with low fat content, but when it takes the form of sausage, pepperoni, Bologna or fried turkeys, it becomes no better than meat. Many meat substitutes, one of which is tofu, in fact, equivalent to processed meats, which typically contain large amounts of sodium. Tofu products are made from beans and don’t contain antibiotics, added hormones and animal products, but they were still being food processing.
Cheese is a great source of protein and calcium, so 30-60 g of cheese every day will not harm your body.
What not to do is to replace beef or chicken in your diet by sandwiches of white bread and cheese for dinner every night. Despite its advantages, the cheese contains a large amount of calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and can quickly be deposited in your stomach and sides. Milk is a reasonable source of protein-based dairy products. It contains from seven to eight grams of complete protein per Cup. In a complete protein has all nine essential amino acids that cannot produce our body, so we must obtain them from food.
The best meat substitutes
Soy is a complete protein with high amino acid content, which is undoubtedly more useful than any of the steak, as it contains a lot of calories and won’t clog the arteries with fat and cholesterol. Champions for the nutritional properties in the world of legumes, soybeans are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber and plant compounds that are able to fight various diseases. It is best to eat soy in the least processed forms. The edamame beans, soy milk, tofu, and natto is the best option.
Beans, peas and lentils
Legumes – an inexpensive way to replenish protein. A Cup of lentils, for example, contains 18 grams of protein along with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Lentils are quick cooking and can be added to salads, pasta sauces or use as a garnish. Also try adding peas to a salad or vegetable soup, or serve beans as a side dish. Prepare hummus from chickpeas and use it for making sandwiches.
Seeds and raw nuts
Nuts and seeds are a super source of vegetable protein and fiber and vitamin E. Some of them are rich in alpha-lipoic acid, the plant version of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. However, they contain a sufficiently large amount of fat, so watch out for the portion sizes (a serving of almonds is 30 grams – about 23 pieces which contain 164 calories and 6 grams of protein). Choose dried, but unsalted varieties. I want to eat something more “harmful”? Use peanut butter as a base for a sandwich or enjoy it as part of snacks-for example, eating with Apple slices.
Hemp seeds and quinoa
Quinoa and hemp seeds – an ideal source of protein. In one Cup of quinoa contains 9 grams of natural plant protein, so anyone looking for a healthy alternative to meat, must add it to your diet.
In addition to protein, hemp seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. Add hemp powder to smoothies or whole seeds to salads and cereals. Don’t forget to crush the seeds or chew them thoroughly, as you will not get protein or fatty acids if they are intact.
Grain – excellent source of protein and fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to fight diseases. Just make sure the grains you choose whole as processed grains lose their fiber, natural vitamins, minerals and most of the protein.
Choose multicereal products. By themselves, most grains, seeds, nuts and legumes don’t contain all nine essential amino acids. But if you could combine grains with legumes or legumes with nuts or seeds, you get a complete protein. Try brown rice with beans, couscous whole wheat with lentils or hummus, made from garbanzo beans, and sesame seeds.
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