Maybe you are trying to become vegetarian or vegan, maybe you want to eat less meat-based meals during the week or maybe you just want some help discovering all the products out there! There are many ways to have a well-balanced diet without eating animal products; let’s explore some fun facts about plant-based foods & talk tips for your next grocery trip! By Alexx J. for The Adventures of Pili
To maintain vital nutrition, all humans need carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, water! Depending on your age and activity level, your body may require more or less of these essential nutrients. But in general, this is what we need to thrive.
These essentials can be found in many fruits & vegetables and there’s plenty of plant sources with protein!
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel
Below is a list of some common ingredients you may be familiar with & how they stack up in the protein department (each item is rich in the other essential nutrients, too!):
*listed alphabetically, can you find which items have the most protein?*
- Almonds – 5.9G/ounce
- Avocado – 4G/cup
- Broccoli – 17G/bunch
- Brussel Sprouts – 5.6G/cup
- Cashews – 40G/cup
- Chia Seeds – 4.7G/ounce
- Edamame (Soy Beans) – 18.5G/cup
- Garbanzo Beans – 14.5G/cup
- Green Peas – 8.5G/cup
- Kale – 3G/cup
- Lentils – 18G/cup
- Peanuts – 38G/cup
- Peanut Butter – 65G/cup
- Pinto Beans – 15.5G/cup
- Pistachios – 6G/cup
- Quinoa – 8G/cup
- Seitan – 75g/cup
- Spirulina – 57G/cup
- Tempeh – 31G/cup
- Tofu – 20G/cup
- White Potato – 5G/cup
- Wild Rice – 6.5G/cup
- Yellow Corn – 5G/cup
Why is protein so important? It keeps our muscles & bones strong and helps us grow! The body naturally produces amino acids that create protein but some important amino acids, such as lysine, are only created by food – which is why we need to know what nutrients are in the food we eat!
Tempeh, Tofu, Seitan…maybe you’ve heard of them, maybe not! They can usually be bought in the store and can be prepared in many ways. Tofu is made from pressed soybean curd whereas tempeh is made from cooked, fermented soybeans. Seitan is made from wheat gluten and is easy to make at home! These ingredients may sound strange, but they are actually great substitutes for meat products and when cooked properly, are very delicious.
Have you tried any of these before?? Maybe you’ve seen them on the menu somewhere?
Along with these items, there are many products widely available now that make wonderful substitutes for meat and dairy. It can be hard to navigate at the store but the list below can be your guide if you want to try some new items – with tips on how to use them!
Beyond Meat: Brats, Hot Italian Sausage & Ground “beef”. The brats can be grilled as normal ones would be, the Italian sausage is wonderful seared & sliced in pasta or on pizza. It can also be ground up & seared for breakfast burritos or grain bowls. The ground “beef” is the perfect substitute for burgers, tacos, and meat-less balls! Each serving has 20G/protein & their website has a store locator so you know where to find your new favorites.
Gardein: Usually found in the freezer section, they offer a wide variety of meat alternatives. Their crispy ‘chicken’ strips & nuggets will have your family fooled! They also have your favorite pork and beef dishes – without the pork & beef. Serve them on top of a salad, in a wrap, or with steamed/roasted vegetables.
Just Egg: If you love eggs, look no further for a substitute. Not only can you use this in the same way you’d use an egg, but it also looks like it! Whether you’re using it to coat veggies for breading & frying or scrambling it up for breakfast tacos, it’s the perfect alternative for egg – and has 5G/protein per serving.
Follow Your Heart: Worried about your favorite cheeses and condiments? This brand has you covered. Their parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella, mayonnaise, and ranch & caesar dressings will have you doubting that they’re really plant-based!
Kite Hill: If you’re a bagel lover or nacho aficionado, you’ll want to get familiar with this company. Their cream cheeses, yogurts, sour cream & ricotta are worth every penny. Use them to make dips, spreads, and all things rich and creamy!
Field Roast: You’ll miss deli meats and cheese slices? Say no more. They have a little bit of everything from sausage links and deli slices to roasts and breaded cutlets. But the can’t miss product is their Creamy Chao – it’s a melty slice that’s perfect in a grilled cheese or on a burger.
Silk: Ice cream, milk, yogurts, and more! Silk is the queen of the dairy-free sections. Their products are so vast & easy to find, you’re more than likely to be overwhelmed by what to try first. Their Oat Yeah! milk is perfect in smoothies or cereal and all of their yogurts are amazing with fresh berries and granola. For that sweet tooth, definitely look for them in the freezer aisle and be prepared to make the hardest decision of your whole grocery trip!
Country Crock: Last but certainly not least – butter! There are many dairy-free alternatives out there but the majority contain palm oil which is detrimental to our rainforests!! This company has gotten it down by sourcing sustainable palm oil and making the creamiest non-dairy butter ever. They have avocado oil, olive oil & almond oil varieties – in sticks and spreadable tubs. Better for you AND the environment!
Want to get started and try some recipes with your family? Check out the next post on Plant-Based Meals!
Hopefully you have learned some new information about plant-based products and feel more confident in giving them a try! Are there any things that surprised you? What items would you like to try?
By: Alexx J. for The Adventures of Pili. This is the latest post in the Pili´s Explorers Cookbook conceived by Kike Calvo and the team of The Adventures of Pili, which profiles interesting information, research, and thoughts on nutrition and food around the world for families and kids. Click here to read the previous article.
Banner Photo by tookapic–1386459