This is not new, excessive consumption of animal products (meat, fish, dairy products) is bad for health and the environment.. Those who decide to stop or reduce their consumption of animal products face new questions about food. What to replace meat? Is it really possible to adopt a meat-free diet? Will I have shortages? Are plant proteins of such good quality?
What foods replace meat and protein?
This is an interesting and very common question. What to replace meat? First of all, you know you don’t have to eat animals to be healthy. Rest assured, there are many ways to replace meat, it’s easier than you think! As for proteins (the biggest concern), you can find them in abundance in plants (legumes, cereals, vegetables, fruits). In fact, only plant proteins can meet a person’s nutritional needs. You just have to eat a varied diet and make sure you meet your body’s energy needs (calories).
What about essential amino acids?
We often hear that the proteins provided by meat are of better quality because they provide the 8 essential amino acids (complete proteins).. It is true that these amino acids are essential because they cannot be synthesized by the body. Since almost all plant proteins contain a restrictive amino acid (which is present in smaller quantities), they are incorrectly considered to be of lower quality.
Why wrong? A well-known theory was developed in 1971, according to which the combination of cereals and legumes was necessary to meet protein needs. It is the union so well known and very widespread today. It is true that this combination has advantages because legumes contain a large amount of lysine, which happens to be the amino acid limiting grain. However, this theory now has strong nuances from researchers, although it continues to be transmitted without a real basis. Frances Moore Lappé, the author who created it, returned to his post 10 years later:
” In 1971, I insisted on protein supplementation because I guess the only way to get enough protein […] was to create a protein that the body could use as animal protein. By eliminating the myth that meat is the only way to get high quality protein, I have reinforced another myth. I was under the impression that if you wanted to get enough protein without eating meat, you would have to pay close attention to your food choices. In fact, it’s much easier than I thought. (Nutrition for a Small Planet, 1981, p. 162)
It is really very difficult to show protein deficiencies with a meat-free diet (supported, among other organizations, by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics). There is no risk unless your diet consists only of fruits or refined foods such as flour, sugar and fat. In all other cases, protein intake is sufficient if the caloric needs are met.
Foods to replace meat, fish, dairy products
As we said before, as long as the calorie needs are met, protein intake is adequate (except for a completely unbalanced diet).. So you can vary vegetables, fruits, legumes and cereals without worrying that you don’t have enough protein. However, in some cases, especially in athletes, protein intake should be higher. It is therefore interesting to know the foods rich in plant proteins so that they can be put on the menu.
What to replace meat?
Here is a selection of 20 foods that replace animal protein! Be aware that there are many others. The list could be very long! If you want, we have created a more complete table of plant proteins. You will notice that legumes and seeds provide more protein than fruits and vegetables. But these are also interesting because they provide vitamins and minerals in large quantities. Various healthy foods and you will be full of life!
- Spirulina (57.47%)
- The lens (24.63%)
- Soy (34.5%)
- Almond (21.15%)
- Chickpeas (20.47%)
- The flageolet (19.1%)
- Oats (16.89%)
- Chia (16.54%)
- Quinoa (13.1%)
- Tofu (9.91%)
- Corn (8.1%)
- Rice (7.04%)
- The pea (5.42%)
- Brussels sprouts (3.38%)
- Artichokes (3.27%)
- The mushroom (3.09%)
- Spinach (2.86%)
- Broccoli (2.82%)
- Dried date (2.45%)
- Passion fruit (2.3%)
Reviews and comments
We are interested in your opinion, do not hesitate to comment and share your opinion. How do you replace meat? Do you have problems with a meat-free diet? Tell us!
The article was written and revised by our interactions team of experts.