This post was written a guest blog for The Soyfoods Council during National Nutrition Month 2014. You can read the original post here.
Being a vegetarian isn’t the only reason to eat soy-based products. There are benefits for all of us – young or old, vegan or omnivore – to incorporating more soyfoods into our meals. Although most of the benefits center on improved health, I think the biggest advantage to adding soyfoods to our meals is the way they can increase the variety in our diets.
With all the news we hear about superfoods, it’s easy to become convinced we can eat all we want of some foods (we can’t) or meet all our nutritional needs by just eating foods on a “top ten” list (we won’t). Eating a greater variety of foods is the best way to achieve optimal nutrition.
I also like to focus on variety because it’s an easy way to make sure no food takes up more space on our diet than it should, and that helps us deal with the hard-to-grasp concept of moderation. Simply put, it means we must control the amount and frequency of everything we eat to have a balanced diet. Too much of anything is not good, but there is room for everything when all foods are eaten in moderation.
If you want to expand the variety of your diet there are soy-based options in every section of the grocery store that can be incorporated into every part of your menu. For example, you can substitute soy strips for bacon in your BLT and soy crumbles for ground beef in your taco. And veggie burgers made with soy protein are now available in flavors ranging from spicy chicken to savory mushroom.
If you don’t think you’re ready to use a soy-based meat alternative, why not start with a soy snack? Try dipping soy crisps into your guacamole or spreading soy nut butter on an apple. Or you can take a soy bar along on your next hike or toss some roasted soy nuts into your trail mix. Remember, the goal isn’t to only eat soyfoods; it’s to add them to your diet to increase the variety of foods you eat every day.
Use this handy guide to add more soy foods to your shopping list.
Where to Find Soyfoods in the Supermarket
SECTION SOY PRODUCTS
Produce fresh soybeans, tofu, tempeh, miso
Freezer edamame, meat alternatives, dairy-free frozen desserts
Dairy soymilk, soy yogurt, soy cheese, soy margarine
Snack soy nuts, soy bars, soy chips, soy crisps, soy crackers, soy pretzels
Staples canned and dried soybeans, soy pasta, soy flour, soynut butter
Condiments soy sauce, soy oil, soy mayonnaise