5 alternatives to meat that are both tasty and nutritious

  • Nutrition
  • Saturday, 03 Nov 2018

For those who are thinking about going vegan, legumes make a healthy and filling alternative to meat.

Thursday, November 1 marked World Vegan Day 2018, and the start of World Vegan Month, which both aim to raise awareness of the benefits of a vegan diet. With many people now considering reducing their intake of animal products, we round up some meat-free options which are a tasty, healthier alternative to meat.


Legumes - including beans, peas and lentils - are one of the most nutritious foods available, and a popular option with vegetarians and vegans. They are lower in fat and cholesterol than meat, as well as being high in fibre and minerals such as folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They are also easy to cook with, and can be used as the basis of a healthy vegan salad, in meat-free soups and casseroles and stews, and of course, in a classic vegetarian chilli instead of minced meat.

Portobello mushrooms

Skip the hamburger patty and try a portobello mushroom instead for a vegan meal burger-and-fries meal. The large, meaty mushroom makes a good non-processed alternative to red meat. According to the Mayo Clinic, it has around only 30 calories and no fat or cholesterol, compared to 235 calories, 16 grams of fat and 76 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3-ounce hamburger patty. It's also high in vitamin D and a variety of minerals.


Unlike red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese and yoghurt, very few plant-based proteins contain all the nine essential amino acids that we need to consume regularly (as they cannot be produced by the body). However, if you're following a vegan diet, try quinoa instead, one of the only plant-based complete sources of protein. Although it doesn't mimic the texture of meat, it works particularly well as the basis of a salad to replace other usual protein-packed ingredients, such as chicken or eggs. Or try it as a side dish in place of carbs such as rice.


Although not currently as well-known as tofu, tempeh is growing in popularity. Originating in Indonesia, tempeh is made from fermented soya beans compressed together in a block. The fact that it needs to be sliced up and can be marinated or grilled like meat might make it an easier way for omnivores to ease into a vegan diet, at least in the beginning. It is also easy to flavour with spices like meat, and can be added to curries and stews for a plant-based protein.


Fruit seems like an unusual choice for an alternative to meat, but jackfruit is one of the latest ways to experiment with vegan options. Thanks to its texture, it makes a good option for those who still crave a pulled pork sandwich. Although not as high in protein as some other meat-free options, and containing more carbs, jackfruit is high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy choice for vegans. - AFP Relaxnews

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