With a large population of people turning vegetarian and vegan, we only thought it prudent to address a few issues that bothers them immensely when they take that major lifestyle and dietary plunge – one of them being giving up on a major source of protein which they used to get earlier from meat and non-vegetarian sources. When one makes the switch from non-vegetarian to vegetarianism or veganism, they fear on losing out on the an important nutrient – protein! This essential nutrient, as we all know, is needed for muscle building, for healthy skin and hair, to repair cellular damage, and above all to lose weight. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry and vegans completely give up on all sources of food from animals. Also, going vegan means giving up on dairy, honey, and eggs too. Going vegetarian or vegan packs a lot of punch without adding too many calories and sans the saturated and cholesterol factor for people on a diet. But why do people take that plunge from being a non-vegetarian to a vegetarian – in today’s world, we have a lot of options to not eat certain foods – for ethical, religious, health, and environmental reasons. Certain people are looking at how animals are reared for consumption and how antibiotics and hormones are extensively used to fatten up animals and how those chemicals can enter our body, making us resistant to a broad range of life-saving antibiotics. Since it’s a little difficult to find grass-fed and organically-raised animals and their produce, the switch to vegetarianism and veganism seems completely justified. Now, coming back to the main issue that former meat-eaters, who have grown up eating meat and have loved the taste of meat, miss the most – the texture and aroma of meat and the worry that they would missing out on protein and nutrients that they used to get earlier from animal food sources. Meats are rich sources of protein and contain all the essential amino acids. They also contain iron and vitamin B-12, which many plant foods do not contain. Additionally, many non-veg sources are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, healthy saturated fat, iron, and calcium too. However, we would like to point out that the store-bought processed meat substitutes have a lot of colors, additives, preservatives, high sodium, unhealthy saturate fat, added flavours, and are high in calories, and regular consumption of these products can lead to weight gain and obesity and to rely on these processed food sources is not at all a good idea. That’s why, in this post, we list out some of the best meat substitutes for Vegetarians and Vegans on Weight Loss Diet.
Why Do People Look for Meat Substitutes:
1. Since they have grown up loving the texture and flavour of meat products, they want substitutes that look and taste like meat.
2. To compensate for the protein source.
3. To get iron, vitamin B12, calcium, and other minerals.
4. To look for essential vitamin B12 which is largely available through animal sources.
5. For ethical and religious reasons.
6. To cut down on saturated fat content.
7. Concerned about food safety and standard issue.
8. For health reasons, concerned about practices of using hormones and antibiotics in rearing animal food sources.
9. To increase fiber content which animal food sources lack.
10. To cut down calories.
10 Meat Substitutes for Vegetarians and Vegans on Weight Loss Diet:
1. Tofu: Tofu is an amazing source of vegetarian protein. It is made from soybeans, and a rich source of plant protein and that’s the reason why Rati Beauty weight loss programs uses tofu in many of its weight loss recipes. Tofu can be used minced, as chunks or in cutlet forms.
2. Lentils: All lentils/dals, whether it’s masoor, lobia, horsegram, etc., provide ample protein, fiber, iron, and other minerals essential for smooth functioning of the body. Cooked lentils can be used in placed of minced meat in patties and sausages.
3. Mushrooms: Mushrooms can be one of the best replacements for meat with their umami flavour and attain a meaty texture with cooking. You can replace mushrooms in a lot of non-veg based dishes by mixing the correct spices and sauces.
4. Black beans: Beans, particularly black beans, can be cooked and mashed into patties and with its high protein content can be a good meat substitute.
5. Wheat Gluten/Seitan: In its cooked form, it becomes very similar to meat in its texture, but people allergic to gluten have to stay away and look at other alternatives in this list.
6. Chickpeas: Another good source of plant protein, chickpeas or chole not only taste delicious, they can mimic the flavour of meat too with the addition of correct spices.
7. Tempeh: This is an exotic soy-based product which is replacing meat. Additionally, tempeh is also a fermented food, so good for the gut too.
8. Paneer: Paneer is a flexible ingredient that can be used with different spices and sauces to mimic meat in curries and kebabs. Also, it’s high protein content gets a thumbsup for nutritionists as well.
9. Jackfruit: This fruit can be used in place of chicken because of its texture.
10. Cauliflower: This low-calorie vegetable can be used with walnuts or with mushrooms to replace meat in tacos.