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Are Meat Substitutes Safe for Kids?

According to a new report, the worldwide meat substitute business will be worth $8.82 billion by 2027, nearly double what it was in 2019. According to the report, one reason for the rise in demand for meat replacements could be because many families determined to eat healthier at home during the epidemic, which includes eating less meat.

But how can you tell which of the several meat replacements tastes the best? Is it safe for children to consume meat substitutes?

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What are the best meat substitutes?

There are a plethora of meat replacements available, ranging from packaged burgers such as Impossible and Beyond Meat to canned jackfruit and tofu blocks. So, how can you choose the best meat replacements for your family? Pattie Cordova, a vegetarian and the founder of Living Mi Vida Loca, told us which foods she and her two sons, aged 13 and 10, enjoy the most.

Cordova, who has been a vegetarian (with eggs) for 15 years, said soy chorizo is a great favourite in her house. “I love that it goes with beans, eggs, and anything else.”

She also like Quorn’s fishless fillets and chickenless strips, which contain a fungus-derived mycoprotein as a crucial ingredient.

If you’re unsure about your meatless match, The Kitchn has a guide on how to locate the finest meat substitutes for your preferences and needs. It contains information on tempeh, tofu, soyrizo, jackfruit, gardein, seitan, Beyond Meat, and Impossible Burger, as well as a few starter recipes.

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What other ingredients are there in soy, seitan, and plant-based meat substitutes?

Fast food and sit-down burger places are both serving meatless burgers these days. Carl’s Jr. has a Beyond Famous Star and Burger King has an Impossible Whopper. What are they made of, though, and is it healthy?

Not all vegetarian burgers are created equal. Soy, potatoes, coconut and sunflower oils, and salt are among the components in the Impossible Burger, whereas bean protein, brown rice, coconut and canola oils, and salt are among the ingredients in the Beyond Burger.

It can be difficult to find the proper meat alternative. Seitan resembles tofu in appearance, however it is produced from wheat gluten. Tofu is manufactured from soybean curds and comes in a variety of firmnesses. Tempeh is manufactured from soybeans as well, but it has other ingredients and may include gluten.

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Before you buy anything, read the ingredient list, especially if you or your children have a soy or gluten allergy or sensitivity. “Some of these items have extra preservatives, carbohydrates, inflammatory oils, or other additives that we don’t want,” said Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Camille Skoda, RDN, LD.

Are meat substitutes healthy?

So, are meat substitutes safe for our children to eat? Skoda told the Cleveland Clinic, “Some meat alternatives are produced with pea protein or beans, which is wonderful.” “Others are manufactured with wheat gluten or soy protein isolate (a processed type of soy).” Those are the ones you should stay away from.”

Saturated fat and sodium levels are high in some packaged meat alternatives. Entire meals, or foods prepared with whole foods, such as beans, lentils, brown rice, or tofu made from whole soybeans, are the greatest meat alternatives, according to Skoda. Or jackfruit, a fruit that shreds like meat and can be used in tacos, soups, and stir fries as a meat substitute.

When determining if meat alternatives are nutritious, it’s important to take into account what’s being consumed alongside the meat substitute. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, if you order a vegetarian burger at a fast food restaurant and add fries and soda, the meal will not necessarily make you healthier. Furthermore, some meat substitutes are overly processed.

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Meat alternatives are here to stay, whether in fast food or homemade veggie burritos, as more parents and children choose to be vegetarian.

Cordova was a vegetarian during her pregnancy, and she told her paediatrician that she and her husband were rearing their sons as vegetarians. They have only recently begun to experiment with meat in Mexican cuisines such as menudo.

“They don’t have any health problems,” she explained. “If anything, they’re pretty healthy and don’t actually get sick.” Being vegetarian, I believe, makes it simpler for them to explore different foods since they are more open to new experiences.”

If you’re thinking about replacing meat with a meat replacement, Cordova recommends diving right in.

“Just don’t buy any meat and replace it with meat alternatives and see if they can detect the difference,” she advised. “This could be the ideal opportunity to try something new.”

FAQ

  1. What can be substituted for meat in a child’s diet?

    Offer alternatives such as eggs, peanut butter, tofu, beans, lentils, almonds, seeds, and soy-based meat substitutes if your child is vegetarian or does not enjoy meat (e.g., beef, hog, goat), chicken, turkey, or fish. These foods are similar in nutrients and will assist your youngster in meeting his or her nutritional requirements.

  2. Is impossible Burger OK for kids?

    Yes, most families should eat more plant-based meals, but before you tell your children that they may eat as many Impossible burgers as they want, keep in mind that it’s still a food product manufactured in a lab with a long list of components. The Impossible Burger is essentially the same as any other fast food burger. It’s a delight.

  3. Are plant-based diets healthy for children?

    In conclusion, vegan diets can be healthy for children if parents and guardians are knowledgeable about the essential nutrients for growth and development. Furthermore, parents of vegan children must exercise particular caution to ensure that their children are consuming a well-balanced diet and, if necessary, seek professional advice.

  4. Is it safe for a child to be vegetarian?

    If properly planned, a vegetarian diet can be a healthy option for all children. The essentials of a vegetarian diet are the same as any other healthy diet: eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes (such as beans, soy, and lentils), nuts, and seeds.

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