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How To Include Plant-Based Meat Into Your Diet?

There are so many different types of eating options and trends today that it can quickly become challenging to keep track of all of them. With the growing popularity of different diets, the demand for plant-based meats has also been growing. Plant-based meats are products manufactured with plant ingredients that can be used in making recipes that typically use meat. This makes the cuisine vegan or vegetarian. Many meat-less alternatives are available today that are being used in the same way in which you use meat in your recipes. Here are some tips on how to include plant-based meat into your diet.

Types of Plant-based Meat Alternatives

If you are considering a plant-based meat diet, there are many meatless options that can be used in the same way in which you use meat. For example, there are meatless hot dogs, bacon, burgers, meatballs, and even deli slices are available. Many of these alternatives are so delicious and versatile that people who follow a plant-based diet also enjoy having them. Let’s take a look at some of the more popular varieties of plant-based meat alternatives.(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  1. Impossible Burgers

    Impossible Burgers are rapidly growing in popularity. Similar to the concept of Beyond Burger, Impossible Burgers are brought to you by the brand Impossible Foods, which is also known for its meatless sausage, port alternatives using plant ingredients, and chicken-style nuggets. In order to make these plant-based Impossible Burgers, the company uses potato and soy proteins.

    The meat-like flavor in these burgers is derived from heme iron. While heme iron is typically derived from animal products, but the heme iron used to make Impossible Burgers is derived from the root nodules of the soybean plants. The final product is manufactured through the fermentation process of genetically engineered years.(6)

  2. Seitan

    Seitan is perhaps one of the most popular plant-based meat alternatives used today. It is made from vital wheat gluten and has a savory flavor combined with a chewy texture. This makes seitan a great addition to use in stir fry, stews, sandwiches, and even pasta dishes.

    When it comes to the nutrient content, seitan is rich in protein. It also contains some amounts of calcium, potassium, and iron.(7, 8)

    You will be able to find seitan in the form of strips, cubes, or thin deli slices in many grocery stores. These are usually ready to use. You can also make seitan at home using vegetable broth, flavoring agents like garlic, liquid aminos, and soy sauce, and vital wheat gluten. All you need to do is combine these ingredients in a mixer, make a dough, and boil slices of the dough to cook.

    However, keep in mind that since seitan is made with gluten, it is not suitable for those who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.(9)

  3. Beyond Meat Products

    Beyond Meat is a popular brand that sells plant-based meat products. While the brand originally gained fame for its debut vegan burger known as the Beyond Burger, it now also makes other products like plant-based ground meat, meatballs, sausages, and chicken.

    The main ingredient in a Beyond Burger is pea protein, along with refined coconut oil, cocoa butter, dried yeast, and rice protein. Beyond Burgers are free from gluten and soy and are naturally colored with beet juice. One patty of Beyond Burgers provides 100% of the daily value of vitamin B12, 20% for iron, and 40% for zinc.(10)

  4. Jackfruit

    Jackfruit is a popular tropical fruit that can be commonly found in Africa, Asia, and some places in South America. It has a thick, green, and bumpy outer rind and soft, stingy inner flesh with edible seeds.(11)

    Due to its mild flavor and consistency, the flesh of the jackfruit is most often used as an alternative in meat dishes. For example, many people put jackfruit in pulled pork, or you can use plain jackfruit in the slow cooker with onions and barbecue sauce to make sandwiches.

    Another benefit of jackfruit is that it is low in calories and does not contain much fat or protein as compared to other plant-based meat alternatives. It also includes some amount of fiber and other micronutrients, including calcium, potassium, and iron.(12)

  5. Soy-based Foods

    Soy is one of the original plant-based meat alternatives. This legume is used to lend a mild flavor and versatile texture that makes them perfect for making conventional meat-based dishes. Some of the soy-based foods include:

    • Tofu: Tofu is a spongy cake made from water and soybean. Tofu can be cubed, pressed, and cooked. You can use it to make salads or stir-fry, slice it and add it to sandwiches, cook it with vegetables, or crumble it and make it into an alternative for scrambled egg.
    • Soybeans: Also known as edamame, soybeans make for a great addition to a stir-fry. You can also cook them and eat soybeans.
    • Tempeh: Tempeh is a type of fermented soybean product that is sold in the form of long blocks. Tempeh works best if sliced into thin strips and stir-fried or crumbled and used in tacos, chilis, or sloppy joes.
    • Soy-based meat alternatives: Some of the more processed plant-based meat alternatives also use soy protein in their recipes, such as premade vegetable burgers.

    As you can see, there are several plant-based meat alternatives that are available today. While some of these are high in protein, sodium, and calories, others are high in saturated and total fat. Tofu and jackfruit are low in both sodium and calories and also free from saturated fat, making them a healthy option as well.

What Are The Benefits Of Having Plant-Based Meat Alternatives?

There can be benefits to having plant-based meat alternatives. However, some of the main benefits of having plant-based meat alternatives are subjective, as most people consume them for a wide variety of reasons. For example, some people may be consuming plant-based meat alternatives because they are more in line with their personal beliefs about eating meat. Others might be having plant-based meats in support of the harmful effects meat-eating has on industrialized animal agriculture, animal welfare, public health, and the environment.(13, 14)

At the same time, some plant-based meats are free from nutrients that some people might need to restrict having for heart health or any other medical reason. This includes sodium and saturated fat. Of course, the amounts of these nutrients you consume will depend on which product you are having.(15)

In recent times, several studies have found a link between high consumption of processed and red meats and an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers, especially breast and colon cancers.(16, 17)

However, on the other hand, most Western diet patterns do not contain important nutrients like fiber, which helps to lower the risk of many chronic diseases.(18, 19)

Since plants are the only natural sources of fiber, shifting to a whole-food-based, majorly plant-based diet is one of the easiest ways to increase your intake of fiber. It also helps you get more vitamins and minerals and other compounds that have various health benefits.(20)

Are There Drawbacks To Having Plant-Based Meat Alternatives?

Of course, there are many benefits to having plant-based meat alternatives, but there are some drawbacks to keep in mind as well. For example, not all plant-based meats are made equally. Some of the highly processed products like the Impossible Burger and products from Beyond Meat are equally high in total and saturated fat as compared to their meat counterparts. In fact, these burgers also contain more sodium than your regular single beef patty, which might not necessarily be food for heart health.(21, 22)

Furthermore, many of the packaged meat alternatives are rich in other ingredients that many people might not be willing to consume, including added sugar, modified cornstarch, dextrose, and refined oils. The best way to avoid these types of ingredients that you may be concerned about is to read the complete ingredient list on any packaged plant-based meat product.

Another drawback of using plant-based meat alternatives is that most of these products are more costly per serving, except tofu, which is relatively inexpensive.


There is a growing number of plant-based meat alternatives that are available on the market today. Many of them are delicious in taste and are readily available. If you look at the nutritional value of these products, many of the more highly processed plant-based meat alternatives are not necessarily healthy as they are typically high in saturated fat and sodium. If you are not used to plant-based meat alternatives, it is a good idea to first try some of them in little quantities to get an understanding of the taste before investing more into buying plant-based meat alternatives.


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  2. Pimentel, D. and Pimentel, M., 2003. Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 78(3), pp.660S-663S.
  3. Kyriakopoulou, K., Dekkers, B. and van der Goot, A.J., 2019. Plant-based meat analogues. In Sustainable meat production and processing (pp. 103-126). Academic Press.
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  8. Uptonsnaturals.com. 2022. Traditional Seitan | Uptons Naturals. [online] Available at: <https://www.uptonsnaturals.com/products/traditional-seitan> [Accessed 25 April 2022].
  9. Elli, L., Ferretti, F., Orlando, S., Vecchi, M., Monguzzi, E., Roncoroni, L. and Schuppan, D., 2019. Management of celiac disease in daily clinical practice. European journal of internal medicine, 61, pp.15-24.
  10. Beyondmeat.com. 2022. Burger | Plant-Based Burger Patties | Beyond Meat. [online] Available at: <https://www.beyondmeat.com/en-US/products/the-beyond-burger> [Accessed 25 April 2022].
  11. Ranasinghe, R.A.S.N., Maduwanthi, S.D.T. and Marapana, R.A.U.J., 2019. Nutritional and health benefits of jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.): a review. International journal of food science, 2019.
  12. Uptonsnaturals.com. 2022. Original Jackfruit | Uptons Naturals. [online] Available at: <https://www.uptonsnaturals.com/products/original-jackfruit> [Accessed 25 April 2022].
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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 11, 2022

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