The Ultimate Guide to Meat Alternatives
By Sara Butler
Whether youâ€™re trying to adopt a more plant-based lifestyle or youâ€™re trying to include more sources of protein in your diet, navigating the options out there can be a bit confusing.
Donâ€™t sweat it because many people have been right where you are. Adopting a new lifestyle or using new ingredients always has a learning curve, but you can jump ahead by learning a few things about these options and how good they are for your health.
Tofu: What is it?
Tofu is made when soymilk is curdled and then formed into blocks. Itâ€™s close to the process used to make milk into cheese.
Tofu comes in a few varieties. You can find silky, firm, extra-firm, or soft. They even have sprouted tofu made from sprouted soybeans. This makes it easier to digest but a bit higher in calories and fat.
The Nutritional Value of Tofu
Tofu is full of healthy fats, fiber, phytochemicals, calcium, iron, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. But the nutritional profile is based largely on how itâ€™s prepared, so make sure to check out the nutritional information on the label to find out what it has.
Tofu is a complete protein. That means it has all the essential amino acids your body needs to maintain important bodily functions. Most tofu also has a high amount of calcium. The only thing to be aware of with soy is that it is an allergen for many people, so make sure you and no one in your house is allergic!
Tempeh: What is it?
Tempeh is also made from soy, created from whole soybeans that are fermented and cooked. It has a firmer texture than most tofu.
Nutritional Value of Tempeh
Tempeh is full of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, healthy fats, and niacin. It also has more protein than tofu, along with more fiber and carbohydrates.
Since tempeh is made from soybeans, it is very similar to tofu when it comes to health benefits. But since itâ€™s also fermented, it delivers a dose of probiotics to keep your gut happy.
Seitan: What is it?
Seitan is pure wheat gluten, a soy-free option for those that are playing around with meat alternatives. People like it for its meaty texture since it can be made into burgers, bacon, sausage, and other meat-like products.
Nutritional Value of Seitan
Even though this is made of wheat gluten, itâ€™s actually low in carbohydrates because the starch has been removed during processing. It also packs in some protein and important minerals your body needs to function.
If youâ€™re allergic to soy, then trying seitan may be the ticket!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Denton, Tex.