District Dish: Healthy Alternatives

Veganism is becoming mainstream; this means eliminating all animal products on the plate. Most vegans avoid meat, dairy, eggs, and even honey. Some vegans are motivated by humanitarian concerns, but the vegan diet has some potential health benefits like a reduced risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer according to many articles which can be found on the subject. We have gathered some delicious substitutions that can help.

Tofu, one of the most common substitutes for meat, can have a light and fluffy texture. Half a cup pack 10 grams of protein, about half the quantity of protein in the same amount of chicken. Tofu stars in a range of recipes from lasagna to stir fry. Choose firm or extra firm tofu for a saute or baking recipe. Extra firm pretty much guarantees that it won’t fall apart. Always squeeze as much moisture out of your tofu before placing it on the pan. Use a few paper towels and wrap it tightly – let it sit for a while and soak up the excess moisture. Some chefs even let tofu soak in towels overnight. The more moisture out of the tofu, the more flavor can get into it while cooking.

Chickpeas, also known as Garbanzo beans, are rich in protein (12 grams per cup) and folate. This is important for red blood cell production and proper brain function. Some great vegan chickpea choices include falafel (a deep-fried ball, doughnut or patty) and tuna recipe substitutes.

Soy milk and almond milk are common milk substitutes. Some brands pack protein, vitamin D, and 15 percent more calcium than skim milk. Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk is about equal in calories and even higher in healthy fats and antioxidants. It’s even great for baking.

When it comes to baking, flax seeds are a great substitute for eggs. The seeds turn baked goods from sweet treats into sources of Omega-3 fats and fiber. Remember to grind the flax seeds or buy flax seed meal before baking. Mix ground flax seeds with a little bit of water and let it sit for a few minutes before adding into your recipe. Mashed bananas can also be used as an egg substitute. Bananas are a great binding agent in baking recipes and provide a potassium boost.

A nutritious and delicious butter alternative is coconut butter which has absolutely no cholesterol. Regular butter has about 22 milligrams per tablespoon. Coconut butter is also packed with nutrients that boost brain function, immunity and weight loss according to articles found on the subject.

Agave syrup, a honey substitute, is sweeter than sugar and thinner than honey. It can be used for teas, juices, desserts, and dressings.

Becoming a vegan may not be for everyone, but adding a few vegan substitutes to your diet could improve your health and expand your palate! Not to mention help you out in a bind you find out last minute you are out of eggs.

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