Weather you’re trying to lose weight or you feel strongly against killing animals for food, you have to keep in mind that a vegetarian diet lacks the nutrients you would otherwise get from different types of beef, fish or poultry. For instance, omega 3 is a healthy, fatty acid usually found in commonly eaten fish such as salmon or tuna. Then there is also the lack of protein and iron one would usually get from lean beef or chicken. The good thing is that you can find plenty of meat substitutes that can allow you to enjoy the health benefits and nutrients a non-vegetarian would receive.
1. Nuts: Walnuts, peanuts and almonds constitute great sources of omega 3 fatty acid found in fish. They are also filled with protein and fiber, of which you also need plenty if you’re on a vegetarian diet. You can mix nuts into dishes that usually contain bits of meat such as vegetable stir-fry or salad sandwiches. Just watch out for the high calorie content, and stay away from nuts that are covered in too much salt or chocolate coated.
2. Hummus: Hummus can act as a replacement for mayonnaise. For vegetarians, mayonnaise is an off limits product because of the egg content. However, hummus is an excellent substitute with its creaminess and delicious flavor. Hummus is also a source of iron, a mineral you would normally get from meat, and it’s also a good source for vitamin C, protein and fiber.
3. Soy: Soy can be used to prepare many meals; just look around in grocery stores and you’ll surely find soy burgers, soy turkey, soy bacon, soy chicken, soy hot dogs – soy is a wonderful meat substitute. There are also numerous health benefits to eating soy. For instance, it’s filled with protein, low in fat and cholesterol, and has cancer fighting properties, especially in colon, prostate and breast cancer.
4. Eggplant: This is a delicious, tasty vegetable that can be used to replace meat in lasagnas and pastas. Looking for a replacement for chicken parmesan? Go for eggplant parmesan instead! Another notable thing about eggplant is its great nutrition value. Eggplants are packed with fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins and potassium.
5. Tofu: It’s made out of coagulated soy milk and is generally considered to be quite tasteless and boring. Yet, with a little frying or grilling, and the proper seasoning, this vegetarian-friendly food can act as an excellent replacement for chicken and beef. Loaded with protein, tofu works well in a stir-fry and has an amazing resemblance to scrambled eggs.