Meat has many nutritional benefits; however we tend to eat too much, too often. Meat alternatives are plant-based sources of protein that are high in fibre and low in saturated (unhealthy) fats. They include beans, lentils, dried peas, nuts, seeds, nut butters and soy products. You do not have to become a vegetarian to get the benefits of adding meat alternatives to your diet. Start now and try going meatless one night a week!
What are the benefits of adding more plant proteins to your diet?
– Save money by using more beans, nuts and seeds and less meat, poultry and fish.
– Boost fibre to get the recommended amount each day. Adequate fibre in your diet can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugars and keep bowels regular.
– Lower saturated fat intake as most legumes are either low in fat or contain healthy fats. Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats but also in calories so watch portion sizes of these.
– May help prevent and manage type 2 diabetes and help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity and cancer.
– May aid in protecting against cancer, heart disease and other conditions that occur with aging as meat alternatives contain a variety of antioxidants.
– Enjoy a larger variety of foods since they are so versatile and delicious!
Watch out for my next article to find out easy ways to include more plant-based proteins in your diet…
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Terry Jordan, P.Dt., Sobeys Professional Dietitian
Terry’s Recipe Corner
Curried Lentil Sliders
3/5 cup 150 ml Cashews, unsalted
2 tbsp 30 ml Canola oil
4 cups 1000 ml Mushrooms, mini portabellas, sliced
1 cup 250 ml Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tbsp 15 ml Curry paste
1/8 tsp ½ ml Salt
¼ tsp 1 ml Pepper
2 cups 500 ml Lentils, canned, drained, rinsed
¼ cup 60 ml Bread crumbs
¼ cup 60 ml Cilantro, chopped
1 cup 250 ml Greek yogurt, plain, fat free
1. Place cashews in a dry frying pan. Toast on a low-medium heat until fragrant, about
5 minutes. Place toasted nuts into a large food processor.
2. Add 1 tbsp of the oil to the same skillet and sauté mushrooms and onion until
softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, curry paste, salt and pepper. Cook for
one minute more. Add to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Be careful not
to over process or it will become mushy.
3. Add lentils to food processor and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and gently
mix in bread crumbs and cilantro.
4. Use a heaping tablespoon to measure out mixture. Form into small patties.
5. Heat remaining oil in a pan over medium high heat. Brown patties until crisped,
about 5 minutes per side.
6. Garnish with yogurt.
Nutrition Information per Serving:
Fat 8 grams
Carbohydrate 17 grams
Fibre 3 grams
Protein 9 grams
Sodium 187 milligrams
Tip: Serve on a bed of spring mix or stuffed in a pita.
Source: Sobeys Dietitians