Healthiest Veggie “Meats” You Can Buy

Avoiding meat? Or just want to try something new? Many people buy meatless burgers, strips, nuggets, and other “veggie meats” to lower their risk of heart disease and cancer, to protect animals, or to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. In this Food Scoop, Lindsay and Paige show you how to buy the healthiest wannabe meats based on sodium, protein, taste, and more.

Check the chart below for our picks. (Note: you won’t find any Quorn products in our chart, because the main ingredient is “mycoprotein,” a euphemism for processed mold. It’s not just unappetizing; some people report severe vomiting and anaphylactic reactions after eating Quorn, which has been linked to two deaths.)

Best Bites (✔✔) have at least 10 grams of protein and no more than 250 mg of sodium. Honorable Mentions (✔) have no protein minimum and can have up to 350 mg of sodium. Both have no more than 2 grams of saturated fat. Products are ranked from least to most sodium, then most to least protein, then least to most calories. Unless noted, products are typically frozen.

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Healthy Veggie "Meats" Chart
Click the image above for a full-size version of the veggie “meats” chart.

 

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3 Replies to “Healthiest Veggie “Meats” You Can Buy”

  1. You do a wonderful job of breaking things down, but one of the reasons to eat meat is the iron it contains, heme I think it is called.

    1. From Nutrition Action Healthletter January-February 2012: Heme is the form of iron in the hemoglobin of red blood cells and in the myoglobin of muscle cells. It’s much more easily absorbed than the non-heme iron that’s in plant foods, supplements, and fortified foods…

      Having large reserves of iron in your blood or consuming large amounts of heme iron is linked to a higher risk of diabetes. Heme iron may also be linked to colorectal and prostate cancers and heart disease, though the evidence is less clear. To reduce your intake of heme iron, switch from red meat to poultry, seafood, and plant proteins like lentils, beans, tofu, and grains.

  2. As a subscriber, I find it a glaring omission that no mention was made of “organic” or “non-gmo” in this entire report. You have done good work, but why were these important criteria not included?

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