Our Head Dietitian's Favourite Meat-Free Alternatives
Less than 1 in 10 Australian adults met the recommendations for daily vegetable consumption in 2018. This is a concerning statistic considering how important plant foods are for our health, especially as a preventative measure against chronic health problems. Meat can have a great place in an individual’s diet; however, plant foods should be more predominant.
Plants provide us with a significant variety of vitamins and minerals and are made up of carbohydrates called fibre. Fibre helps keep us regular and feeds our healthy gut bacteria, allowing them to multiply and thrive in our digestive tract. Fibre helps reduce cholesterol, maintain blood sugar levels and keep us feeling fuller for longer. Having a balanced, varied diet is crucial to ensure you’re receiving the whole range of nutrients your body needs to function properly.
If you're not ready to entirely ditch meat, don't worry – there's huge power in small changes rather than changing everything at once. If you change too much too quickly, it’s hard for it to become a lifestyle. Start by swapping your meat with one of these tasty vegan alternatives:
Tofu is a great alternative to meat as it’s the only plant-based meat alternative that is a complete protein. Complete proteins contain all the essential and non-essential amino acids. Minimal plant sources of protein are not complete. Tofu is versatile as it can be used in stir-fries, can be used in making desserts and can also be used to make tofu-scramble, like scrambled eggs!
2. Legumes & Beans
Legumes, beans and chickpeas are other great options when looking to increase your consumption of plant-based foods. These foods are an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates, fibre and nutrients for a healthy gut.
Did you know that jackfruit is one of the largest fruits in the world – reaching nearly 40 kilograms in weight? Predominantly grown in southwest India, it's the new plant-based ‘craze’ – and for good reason. It’s versatile, full of nutritional value and so easy to cook with – especially Amazonia Tender Jack, which is available plain or pre-marinated in a range of delicious sauces.
Jackfruit is filled with an array of vitamins and minerals and has a decent fibre content. It’s like biting into a delicious, tender pulled pork burger – minus the pulled pork! Thanks to its meaty consistency, it’s a great vegetarian/vegan option for stir-fries, burgers, tacos, burritos and so much more. Head to our Tender Jack recipe page for inspiration!
Try these easy plant-based swaps:
- Add 1 can of lentils into your spaghetti Bolognese mince
- Try doing meat-free Monday in your household
- Love burgers? Try making black bean burger patties
- Pick up a new cookbook so you can have some fun in the kitchen
- Plan your plant-based meals ahead of time
- Going to an event? Take a scrumptious plant-based dish that everyone will enjoy