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Many common protein sources consumed by Americans are believed to be a healthy part of their diet simply due to their high protein content. However, protein sources such as beef or other red meat can have a major impact on your overall health if consumed too often. This is why finding a few healthier alternatives is essential to help you limit your consumption of these foods. Even one plant-based protein source alternative a week can change everything for your health, especially if the source is not highly processed.
The following are five common protein source swaps to try this year for a heart-healthy diet:
Black Beans or Lentils
For every pound of ground beef, substitute one cup of cooked lentils or black beans. Remember that you don’t need to be an all-or-nothing person to cut down on your meat consumption. You can simply start adding alternatives to your diet until you crowd out a lot of the meat. For example, if you have a favorite meatloaf recipe, switch out half the meat for black beans or lentils.
Chia or Flax Seeds
To make a flaxseed egg or a chia seed egg that can be used in baked goods, just use one tablespoon flaxseed meal or crushed chia seeds to three tablespoons of water. Stir together and allow to form a thick gooey substance before adding it to your recipe.
Soy or Coconut Milk
Whenever a recipe asks for any type of milk, you can usually easily substitute either soy or coconut milk. Consider the end result you’re looking for. Coconut milk adds a sweeter flavor than soy milk which is more neutral. These items can be subbed one for one without any issues for the most part. Just give it a try to see how it works for you.
Cashews are a low-fat option for cream. Just blend a few soaked cashews with water, add a few drops of cirrus like lime or lemon (or even vinegar) to get the sour cream flavor you like, but without any of the problems that animal milk can give some folks.
Your taste buds are amazing. You can learn to like food that you have never thought about before just by trying it. You may be wondering how you can trick anyone into eating quinoa in place of meat – but really, it’s not a replacement. Instead of saying it’s a replacement, why not tell yourself it’s just another option you like eating. This recipe for “taco” meat can be used for so many things that taste wonderful as they are.
While protein is an important nutrient to incorporate in your diet, that doesn’t mean it needs to only come from animals or high-fat dairy products. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy and dairy substitutes can provide your diet the protein you need to live a healthy life as long as you consume enough and pair it with the right foods. Start with just one meal a week to see how you enjoy these healthy swaps to common protein sources.
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