Get Real: Whole Food Meat Alternatives
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For vegetarians, vegans and those with meat allergies, a Whole Food lifestyle can be a bit more of a challenge. After all, we can’t just buy our “meats” in the grocery store and have them meet Get Real guidelines. There are some great pre-packaged meat alternatives out there, some of which are all natural, but not exactly what most would deem “minimally processed.” In my personal journey to whole food eating, the “meat” has certainly been the biggest lifestyle change.
For me personally, I could eat vegetables and quinoa Every. Single. Day. I don’t really NEED meat substitutes. But, of course, I’m only one part of a larger family. And my family includes myself (a vegetarian), my husband (a meat-eater) and our two undecided kids (ages 2 and 3). So we’re what I call a blended-eater family. We’re much more likely to be able to eat the same meal, together, without making four individual meals, using our meat alternative recipes. So, I’ve developed a few recipes of my own and refined a few recipes from others to suit our family’s needs. These recipes are all of our “family favorites,” meaning that the meat-eaters, vegetarians and undecided kids alike, all enjoy these meat substitutes.
These are all also vegan and whole food friendly and can make a great choice for meat-eaters trying to reduce their meat consumption a bit, too:
- Ground Beef: this is probably the most popular meat substitute for non-vegetarians. In a rich sauce, like a bolognese or in
chili, it is disguised really well and often even fools meat-eaters into thinking it’s “real” meat.
- Steak Bites: great for Chinese stir-fry dishes.
- Bacon Strips: good for a mock BLT or anything calling for strips or chunks of ham or bacon.
- Bacon Bits: excellent on salads and as a topping for soups and casseroles.
- Pepperoni: so incredible on pizza and on sandwiches!
A few other good, no muss no fuss substitutes include:
- substituting grilled portabello mushrooms for steak strips,
- substituting brown lentils for ground beef;
- substituting avocado slices in recipes that call for ham; and
- using quinoa egg noodles (vegans can use quinoa non-egg noodles) or quinoa instead of regular noodles or rice under a recipe where you leave out the meat altogether (quinoa is a complete protein, so allows you to leave out the protein in the entree).
- Make at least ONE meal this week vegetarian. Use some of Kristi’s meatless suggestions above in one of your favorite meat dishes and tell us about the difference!
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