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Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Best vegetarian alternatives

While+some+find+plant-based+diets+to+be+plain+or+lacking+necessary+nutrients%2C+there+are+many+options+available+for+vegetarians+to+incorporate+into+their+lives.+
Scott Bauer via Wikimedia
While some find plant-based diets to be plain or lacking necessary nutrients, there are many options available for vegetarians to incorporate into their lives.

Vegetarianism and plant-based diets have continued to increase in popularity over the last decade. This push has stemmed from a variety of reasons, whether those are environmental, animal cruelty or simply wanting to feel better. Although vegetarians often have a well-rounded diet without meat, many skeptics  worry about the amount of protein vegetarians consume – but there are a plethora of different vegetarian alternatives, as listed below. 

1.Tofu 

Tofu is made from soy milk and is pressed into blocks of varying softness. It can be cooked in a variety of fashions such as baked, scrambled, fried, sautéed or even microwaved. Tofu’s versatile nature allows for a range of textures, and its somewhat bland taste leaves space for seasonings to make the dish special and unique. 

2. Legumes 

Legumes are members of the pea family such as chickpeas, green peas and peanuts. Not all legumes are beans, but all beans are legumes. With over 16,000 types grown all over the world, this food category makes it easy to find something you like while adding a protein to any meal. 

3. Lentils 

Lentils are a specific type of legume, but their popularity often makes them stand out as a staple in many plant-based diets. While most lentils are produced in Canada and India, lentils are most commonly consumed in Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. There are a variety of lentil types, each with a somewhat different flavor and size, which adds to the versatility of this legume. 

4. Impossible Burgers 

While some find the transition to becoming vegetarian easy, others miss staple meats such as ground beef. The Impossible Burger, a plant-based burger made to taste exactly like real meat, helps give people the taste they miss while keeping a vegetarian diet. This “burger” is made of soy and potato proteins, along with yeast extract and heme for taste. 

5. Tempeh 

Tempeh, which is believed to have originated in Indonesia, is made from fermented soybeans. Tempeh is somewhat similar to tofu, but tempeh has a distinct nutty flavor that differentiates the two. Like tofu, tempeh can be cooked in a variety of ways, but it is normally pan-fried or baked. Along with the nutritional value of soybeans, tempeh often includes legumes, grains, nuts or seeds pressed into the block as well. 

Whether one is looking to go vegetarian or simply wants to try meatless Mondays, plant-based alternatives often have a positive impact on both your body and the environment. The options of meat “replacements” are endless, so it may be worth giving one a try to test out a new diet.  

 

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About the Contributor
Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson, Copy Editor
Lauren Anderson is a Senior at Pleasant Valley and serves as Copy Editor for the Spartan Shield. She has played volleyball for over five years, and her time in the sport has led her to coach as well. You may recognize her as a marching band section leader during PV football games where she plays french horn: her instrument of eight years. Lauren is an active member of the youth group community at St. Paul Lutheran Church where she volunteers and spends time with friends. In addition, Lauren has been a member of Women in STEM Club since sophomore year which allows her to advocate for female voices. Lauren enjoys reading, walking her dog Augie, spending time with friends, and being outside hiking and waterskiing. Her various experiences academically, athletically, and artistically enable her to write with diverse perspective, and she looks forward to exploring journalism this semester.
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Best vegetarian alternatives