Even in COVID isolation, I’m sure you’ve heard about the meat shortage that is taking place in our country. A little bit of backstory about this shortage… Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been a severe uptick in COVID-19 cases at meat processing plants. Because of this, production has slowed way down, which in turn, affects the supply for distributors and grocery stores. Even more unpredictable is the fact that this could occur on into the year, beyond May. With limited options, restaurant chains placing a pause on their meat product offerings, and people overbuying (most stores have placed buying limits on meat products but who knows how effective that will be), now is a very good time to consider meat alternatives. Now, I know you’re probably thinking, “How many alternatives to meat could there be?” But surprisingly, there are a good amount of meat alternatives out there. Here are five mostly popular and well-known but tasty ones!
Beans – High in protein, fiber, and many other nutrients, beans are versatile and can be easily substituted for meat as a base for hamburgers, meatloaf, meat sauces, soup bases and so much more. You can purchase premade items or make them yourself for pennies on the dollar.
Nuts – Not only do they come in a variety of flavors and textures, they can be used as meat substitutes, but they also can be made into creamy delicious sauces like cheese sauce and gravy. They are packed with protein and healthy fats. The recipes are endless when it comes to how nuts can be used in your cooking but a couple more suggestions are nut-based burgers and add them to your sauteed veggies,
Cauliflower – High in micronutrients such as folate, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, it is known to assist in reducing cancer risk and fighting inflammation. You can turn this fabulous and versatile veggie into dishes that taste like BBQ or Buffalo chicken wings (I heard of this fabulous gluten-free, whole food based cookbook called Wife to Be: A Survivors Guide Cookbook that has a fabulous BBQ cauliflower recipe, check it out here). Also, it can rival nuts in making some of the creamiest and most delicious sauces ever!
Natto – High in vitamin K and probiotics, natto is a fermented form of soy. I am not a big soy advocate. Like wheat, most of the soy grown and sold in this country is genetically modified and increases estrogen content in our bodies. However, fermented soy like natto is a whole food based soy and as it is fermented more nutrients created, such as probiotics, make this form of soy a health food. It is known to increase digestive health, strengthen bones, and fight cancer and heart disease. Natto is a love it or hate it type of food as the stickiness of the bean may take some getting used to for western palates. However, if you can take the smell and taste, it is a great substitute for meat. It can be used in wraps as fillers, rice as a topping, or in soups.
Jackfruit – My personal favorite! It’s a fig-related fruit that grows in the tropical areas of Brazil, Southeast Asia, and Africa and can grow as heavy as 100 pounds. The wonderful thing about this fruit is that its texture is similar to chicken or pork so it is often substituted as such. Jackfruit is one of those foods that has become trendy or the hip thing to eat amongst the vegan community and I have to admit, it’s quite delicious. As a matter of fact, I love it so much that I created an Instapot cooking class just for it! Click here!
These five delicious meat substitutes are just a few on the list of options. By incorporating some of them into your diet, you can add texture to your food and quite
possibly even forget that you’re missing out on meat altogether!