Top 5 Healthiest Meat Alternatives

Going vegetarian or vegan? Try these vegetables out for a meat substitute!

The transition from an omnivore to a vegetarian is a steep jump for some people.

Letting go of those rich, juicy meats is just like kicking any other habit.

Luckily, the veggie world has some substitutes to lighten the blow as they can be turned into a meal that tastes like meat, but has none at all!

Here are 5 vegetables that act as a perfect meat substitute if you are transitioning to vegetarian or vegan.

1. Black Beans

Black Beans makes a great meat substitute
Image Source: Adobe Stock

Black Beans are my go-to for a meat substitute.

These dense little nuggets of starchy goodness pack a punch. They are versatile food with many sustainable vitamins and minerals.

You can make just about everything with black beans that you could with meat:

  • Black Bean Veggie Burger
  • Black Bean Wrapped Taquitos
  • Rice and Black Beans
  • Bean Dip
  • Black Bean Casserole 
  • Bean Burritos

Due to their hearty, almost meaty texture, you won't even notice there's no meat in your dishes.

Black beans are also high in protein AND Fiber. 

A serving of Black beans contains about 15g of fiber. The daily recommended fiber intake is 25g. Just ONE serving of black beans puts you at 60% of your daily recommended fiber intake!

Black beans contain about 8g of protein per serving, which is not the highest protein count for beans, but it's almost a quarter of your daily value.

Black beans are also high in Calcium, magnesium, copper, and zinc which promotes bone strength.

2. Avocado 

Avocados are a Super Food
Image Source: Adobe Stock

I once heard someone say that avocado is the steak of the natural world. I was a bit perplexed when I heard this proclamation.

But I got to thinking. This guy may have a point.

The taste of avocados is a bit bland. However, add just a dash of salt and the flavor is turned upside down. Every bit of taste you can get out of an avocado can be brought out with just a pinch of sodium.

Other foods, when combined, also bring out the flavor. Their texture is rich and fatty, kind of like tender meat.

Throw it on a salad, or get it in between two pieces of bread for a hearty, meatless sandwich. Avocados can go in just about anything.

Avocados are a GREAT source of fat. With up to 1/3 of your daily recommended fat consumption, your body can burn your daily energy more efficiently.

Avocados are also great for fiber and potassium, making up 40% and 20% of your daily recommended consumption respectively.

3. Mushrooms 

Mushrooms are a great meat replacment
Image Source: Adobe Stock

Mushrooms are very hit or miss when it comes to people's taste buds. 

Grown mostly in the dark, Mushrooms are quite the perturbing food to some.

But it makes the BEST substitute for meat.

This fungus may not have a high calorie or protein count, but it's PACKED with vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D which is hard to find in foods.

You could take a large portabella mushroom and sear it just like you would a steak or you could dice up some criminos to replace chunks of meat in pasta dishes.

Mushrooms can go a long way to replace meat but keep in mind, they don't make up for the loss of protein!

4. Chickpeas

Chickpeas can help replace meat
Image Source:

If you're looking for something that isn't heavy but gives you sufficient energy throughout the day, then chickpeas are a food that will interest you!

Chickpeas help curb appetite without having to fill your stomach to the brim. Its heavy caloric content also comes with smaller amounts of iron, phosphorous, copper, and magnesium which supports overall bone health.

Chickpeas are a great lunch snack for an active individual.

After my run in the afternoon, I don't always feel like eating a full lunch although I know I must eat something in order to help my body recuperate.

Hummus is my go-to snack for this situation. Whole grain chips with hummus give me the calories and minerals I need to replenish my body, giving me enough energy to burn until dinner, while not weighing me down.

5. Potatoes 

Potatoes are the greatest food
Image Source: Adobe Stock

This starchy tuber is universally beloved in all corners of the world. Potatoes helped save a number of European countries from famine in the 1700 and 1800s. 

You can do just about ANYTHING with a potato.

Part of my heritage is Norwegian. My grandpa is a full-blooded Norwegian who was born in the 1930s, as well as in poverty. 

My grandpa's family had this old potato dumpling recipe called "Klubb." high in fat and calories, this recipe has been passed down since the old world. When food may be scarce, these potato dumplings gave people enough energy to survive.

Potatoes have a plethora of vitamins and fiber albeit not high amounts of each. Instead, it gives a large spread of different vitamins helping you fulfill part of or daily recommended value.

Meat as an Afterthought

The transition to vegetarian or vegan may be a challenge to some. You may crave animal protein now and again, but with these non-meats and PLENTY of premade substitutes, the transition will be quite smoother if you use these foods to curve that craving.

Pretty soon, the meat will be an afterthought!

Paul is passionate about mastering the craft of writing. Adaptive and charismatic over pen and paper, no subject is out of the question.

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