Any person on any type of diet is going to be hungry from time to time. At this point, when your stomach is rumbling and your scavenging for food, most people are at their weakest. This is especially true when it is close to time for a big meal like lunch or dinner. These meals generally consist of a sizeable portion of meat for most people. In the case of the vegetarian there is a wide range of delicious foods for you to eat when you experience these hunger pangs. These include grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and meat substitutes.
Now, before we jump right in and talk about meat substitutes, it would be helpful for us to define the term in a simple way. Meat substitutes are grains and vegetables which are formed to look and taste like different kinds of meat. There are meat substitutes for everything from turkey to breakfast sausage, but soy burgers and tofu are the most commonly recognized meat substitutes.
With soy and tofu it is possible to get all of the same nutrient value as a similar sized portion of actual meat (this includes protein). They are by far the easiest to find and cook. Most grocery stores and supermarkets have at least one of these products available. But the great thing about vegetarian diets is that they are so flexible and easy to manipulate. If you are looking for a meat replacement it is possible to form your own patties using many different types of vegetables.
The easiest homemade patties can be made using lentils and chick peas. These are wetted, combined with any other desired vegetable, and then formed as you would like. There are also meat substitutes that you can buy to add to your homemade patties. One of these products is surimi. This is a mixture of flavorings you can add to your patties that will give an interesting fish taste. It is a great flavor substitute for crab meat!
While soy and tofu are certainly the most popular store bought meat substitutes and lentils and chick peas make great homemade patties, it is important to remember that in order for your “meat” to taste good you will need to doctor it up with different marinades and spices. This is a very important step to discovering how tasty these products can be. It is a big jump from real beef or chicken to soy and tofu, so make that jump a smaller step with the right seasonings. The best method here is to season your meat substitute the same way you would season your actual meat. If you like garlic, salt, and pepper on your meat then try it on your substitute. If you prefer a certain marinade, then use that!
Meat cravings are absolutely the most common feelings for new vegetarians and lifelong vegetarians alike. It is true that meat provides us with high levels of protein, but a whole food, plant-based diet can help us all the protein we need. Next you have a craving for meat, consider some of the many meat substitutes commercially available or try to make your own. It is not quite the same as real meat, but if you make it the right way it can come very close!