Soyfoods and Meat Alternatives are Plant Proteins that Complement Flexitarian Eating
With the rise of plant protein and meat alternatives, healthful eating, and dairy-free diets, soyfoods are poised to be one of the food stars of 2019. If your own eating preferences are driven by any of the following food trends, you’ll want to know the following about soyfoods.
• Soyfoods are healthy, easy-to-incorporate ingredients for batch cooking and meal prepping. You can simplify your busy lifestyle by keeping versatile, lean soy protein on hand in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Choose from frozen edamame, refrigerated water-packed tofu, or shelf-stable TSP (textured soy protein). For example, you can prepare ready-to-add protein in advance by combining ground beef with TSP, then browning the meat mixture and freezing it in zip lock freezer bags. That way, you’ll have it on hand to add to batches of chili, pasta sauce, or lasagna.
Soyfoods make it easy to control portion sizes, too. Package ground meat/TSP crumbles or cubed tofu for cooking healthy single meals. TSP is a fiber-rich, zero fat food that offers approximately 11 grams of protein per ¼ cup serving. A 3-ounce serving of firm tofu is about 70 calories, offering approximately 8 grams of protein with no saturated fat.
• Soy is the plant protein of choice. It is the only plant protein equivalent to meat. Soyfoods are high-quality plant protein, and provide all of the essential amino acids in the amounts needed for health, without the large amount of saturated fat that typically comes with animal sources of protein. One serving of soy—such as soymilk, soy nuts, edamame or tofu—offers approximately 7 to 15 grams of plant protein.
• Soy is your go-to plant-based milk if you’re going dairy-free. One cup of soymilk is a nutrition powerhouse, providing approximately 8 grams of plant protein. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, soy beverages like soymilk — fortified with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D— are included as part of the dairy group because they are similar to milk in nutrient composition and use. Doing dairy-free is easy with soymilk, soy yogurt and soy versions of sour cream, ice cream, cream cheese, coffee creamer and more.
• Soyfoods make it simple to create better-for-you versions of favorite recipes. Healthful eating is easier with soyfoods. Ingredients such as tofu, edamame, TSP, and soymilk are low in saturated fat, and none of them contain cholesterol. Soy-ize family favorites by replacing up to 40 percent of the wheat flour with soy flour in cookie and brownie recipes, or making dips and dressings with silken tofu in place of sour cream or mayonnaise. Start the day off right by adding TSP to oatmeal, or making smoothies with vanilla soymilk, frozen berries and honey. Enjoy steamed edamame in the pod as a protein snack, or sprinkle shelled edamame into salads or stir-fry dishes to add plant protein.
For recipe suggestions and tips for cooking with soyfoods, visit The Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.) You’ll also find information about recent soy-related research, and the health benefits of eating soyfoods.
Enjoy these recipes below from The Soyfoods Council
Easy Stuffed Shells
18 large pasta shells
1 26-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 (12.3-ounce) package silken soft tofu (mashed)
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
¾ cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Cook pasta shells according to package directions; drain. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom of 13 X 9 X 2 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. In large bowl, beat egg. Stir in tofu, 1 3/4 cups mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese and the parsley.
2. To assemble, spread 1 cup of the sauce in baking dish. Fill cooked shells with tofu/cheese mixture. Arrange filled shells in the baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over shells. Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
3. Bake, covered with foil, until bubbly, about 45 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.
CALORIES 26 (7% from fat); FAT 1g (sat fat 0.1g, mono fat 0.1g, poly fat 0.2g); PROTEIN 3.9g; CARBOHYDRATE 24.7g;
CHOLESTEROL 4mg; IRON 1.4mg; SODIUM 227mg; CALCIUM 20mg;
***If meat is desired, add 2 cups ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork that has been browned. Drain fat off before adding to tofu mixture.
Chicken Fricassee with Edamame and Orzo
4 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breast halves
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons butter
¾ cup chopped green onions
½ cup diced carrot
½ cup diced ham
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
½ cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
1 cup Edamame
2/3 cup whipping cream
3 cups hot cooked orzo (about 1 ½ cups uncooked rice-shaped pasta)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from pan.
- Add onions, carrot, ham, and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in broth and wine, scraping to loosen browned bits.
- Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Add Edamame. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Add whipping cream; cook, uncovered, over medium heat 8 minutes.
- Spoon ¾ cup orzo onto each of 4 plates. Top each with 1 chicken breast half, 1/3 cup sauce, and 1-tablespoon parsley.
YIELD: 4 SERVINGS.
About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods. Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans..
About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries. In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat. In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.