For the bonafide meat eater, a thick, juicy burger can be really hard to beat, especially when loaded down with all the fixings. Saying no to such a temptation when you’re trying to eat less meat or go completely meat free can be a real struggle unless you have some facts and tips to help keep your goals on track. The yummy bit about finding plant proteins that can beat a burger is this works for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and anyone else who is committed to lessening the enormous impact the beef industry has on land, resources, your health and those cute moo cows everywhere. If you’re someone who thinks a meatless burger is nothing more than a vegetarian snack, then check out our top four categories that prove plant based foods can actually beat the classic hamburger!
Nutrition and Health
It’s not hard to argue that vegetables are more nutritious and much better for our health than a lump of red meat. Unfortunately, eating plant-based has been tinged with the idea of being rabbit food and less than satisfying. A beet patty is seen as a vegan snack rather than the robust meal it truly is! While there are innumerable arguments about the pros and cons of both a meat based diet or a veggie based diet, there are few that can look at a quarter-pounder made from beef next to a quarter-pounder made from plants and deny the benefits to the body. Whether you are simply eating less meat or have gone completely plant-based, take a look at some key benefits to swapping out your patty!
According to the Harvard Medical School, red meat and any processed meats do actually increase the risk to our health. “Dr. Hu says that an accumulated body of evidence shows a clear link between high intake of red and processed meats and a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature death.”1 The key distinction here is a “high” intake. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be an agreed upon consensus for how much that is as each of our bodies comes with its own sensitivities and genetic disposition for disease.
There is currently no evidence that a burger made from fresh whole plant-based foods puts your body at risk. If you’re just not satisfied with the protein count in your veggie patty, pair it with a high protein snack like some IWON Cheddar Cheese Puffs to grab an extra 10 grams! Seems like choosing plant proteins is a no brainer in this science match.
Flavor and Variety
A beef burger always tastes like, well beef. You may change up the seasoning or cooking methods, but the overwhelming flavor will still be shredded meat. A veggie burger however has endless flavors! You can add all the same spices and more, mix in some liquid smoke or Worcestershire for a classic taste, or throw in your favorite curry spices to mix it up.
The consistency of a burger ranges from slimy to dry and always with a chewy meat texture that many people find off-putting. A plant-based burger has endless consistencies and textures! It can be juicy, slightly moist, dry, or even crunchy. The textures are as widely varied as vegetables themselves. You can make patties out of mushrooms for a good chewy burger, shredded beats for a “bloody” burger, oats and lentils for a drier burger, potatoes for a firm burger, eggplant for a soft burger, and on and on. Your imagination is the limit with vegetable based patties.
We know, for the diehard burger fan, this category seems like it’s a matter of opinion. Choose your favorite plant-based snacks like carrot sticks, toasted oats or shredded potatoes and give a few veggie patty recipes a try before making up your mind.
We’ve all heard about the extreme impact the beef industry causes on our planet. This may even be the reason you’re wanting to eat less meat or switch to a fully plant-based diet. If you have no idea what we’re referring to, let us show you how your favorite meat on a bun is affecting the world around you.
Did you know that every year, chunks the size of the state of New York are being cut down in the Amazon rainforest to make more room for grazing? We then have to feed all these cattle so they grow big enough to slaughter and turn a profit. This requires a lot of farming. In fact, over two-thirds of the world’s agriculture actually goes to feeding livestock, not people.2 Cattle in general take up more land than all other domesticated livestock or crops combined! Because of this abuse on land and resources, the industry causes severe soil degradation and water pollution, as well as creating 7-18% of the world’s methane gas caused by human actions.
If you want to see a cleaner, healthier planet in your lifetime or to preserve it for future generations, eating less meat is one really big step that you can take starting right now!
Budget friendly can definitely be argued if your idea of a meatless Monday centers around high-end meat substitutes. While products like the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burgers are delicious, they are not for the veggie lover as much as an incredibly enticing substitute for a red meat enthusiast. They are designed to taste, feel, and look like actual meat. They do achieve this, but it comes at a cost. However, if you live by the motto “time is money,” then absolutely buy them premade. Keep in mind that many of these “just like meat” patties also come at a nutritional loss over using fresh, whole foods. However, if you’re not making the swap for a dramatic decrease in fat and calories, then it won’t matter much.
If you want the ultimate budget friendly and body friendly plant-based burger, you’ll want to make it yourself. The web is full of amazing recipes that span the gamut of grains and vegetables. A combination of whole grain rice with lentils is popular as the two together give your body a full protein profile.
The last thing to consider are your toppings and sides. Grilled onions and provolone, sauteed mushrooms and vegan blue cheese, or the classic lettuce, tomatoes, pickle, and onion are all excellent options. To keep your calories low, swap out your greasy french fries for a tasty plant-based alternative like IWON caramelized onion puffs or some mesquite BBQ protein stix. This will create a meal your body and the planet will love!