Why Are Meat Alternatives So Popular Right Now?
A whopping 60% of Americans are trying to eat more plant-based foods. Here’s why so many of us are excited about meat alternatives.
BY MEGHAN RABBIT
Not so long ago, the people most interested in vegan, plant-based foods wouldn’t exactly be considered mainstream. Now data shows that a majority of Americans (a staggering six in 10 of us!) are choosing more plant-forward foods, says Sarah Ludmer, Senior Director of Wellbeing and Regulatory at Kellogg Company.
“There are so many reasons for this,” says Ludmer. “Plant-based foods are environmentally efficient—they require less land and water than animal-based foods—and they provide great nutritional value, too.” Here are five reasons why a growing number of people are excited to give meat alternatives a try.
Meat alternatives help the environment.
Not only do plant-based alternatives to animal product favorites use less land and water to produce, but they also create far fewer greenhouse gas emissions. (To wit: A shocking 30 percent of land in the 48 contiguous states is used as pastureland so that livestock can graze!) The good news is that changes that might seem small and insignificant to you can actually make a major dent in the health of our environment. Even switching from animal meat to plant-based meals just one day a week could protect the Earth from tons of carbon emissions, says Lynell Ross, a certified health and wellness coach, nutritionist and National Diabetes Prevention Program Instructor.
Meat alternatives save you money.
Think you have to shop at expensive grocery stores or farmer’s markets to eat more fresh produce and plant-based foods? Think again. In fact, research shows that a plant-based diet can lower your grocery bill. That’s because meat and other animal proteins tend to be really expensive, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N. On the flip side, beans, lentils, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and plant-based animal alternatives are often a lot more affordable.
“Plant-based foods are environmentally
efficient—they require less land and water than animal-based foods”
Meat alternatives can help you get healthier.
Trying to lose weight, improve your heart health and generally feel better? Following a plant-based diet can help. According to one recent study, following a vegetarian diet prompted people to lose significantly more weight than people eating meat. Bonus: Other research has found that plant-based diets also lower inflammation, a known cause of many diseases like diabetes, arthritis, depression and even cancer.
Meat alternatives are convenient—and easy to cook.
When starting a new, healthy diet, it’s always a good idea to keep some healthy staples on hand. For example, quick-cooking whole grains, frozen veggies and plant-based meat alternatives mean you can pull together a well-rounded bowl for lunch or dinner in minutes.
Meat alternatives taste great.
Plant-based burger patties have come a long way on the flavor front in recent years, with companies like Incogmeato doing extensive research and development to make sure colors and flavors come from natural sources and taste wows everyone, says Ludmer. “Right now, our focus is on growing love and desire for plant protein by offering something that tastes great and can easily be integrated into any diet.”