Healthier Alternatives to Your Favorite Meats

It’s okay carnivores; this is not where I tell you that you should be eating tofu and veggie burgers instead of chicken and beef burgers.

Instead I’m going to tell you how you can still eat the meat you love without sacrificing the big flavor you crave.

There are some dishes that you can’t create in a healthier way, such as pot roast or a thick juicy steak. If this is what you crave, go ahead and indulge, nothing will satisfy those cravings.

There are some foods that are associated with high fat, unhealthy eating, and can be changed without sacrifice. I’ll bet you that if I substituted lean ground turkey for the beef in your chili or spaghetti sauce, you’d never miss the flavor, but you’d save on significantly on fat and calories. Turns out if you think about it a bit, there are lots of dishes like this.  Use the following tips and you’ll be on your way to a healthier you without much effort.

Ground turkey or chicken is a great substitute for dishes with sauces and a lot of other bold flavors; think taco meat, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce and chili. You can use it for burgers, but beware: While it can still be delicious it won’t be like eating a hearty beef burger.

For foods that are often used as accents such as bacon on a salad or sausage crumbles on an omelet, turkey versions work well and you’d probably be hard pressed to tell the difference. Again, slices of straight turkey bacon might not satisfy your craving for salty and crispy pork, but small things do make a difference.

You don’t have to make full substitutions. When making a meatloaf or meatballs that have fillers like breadcrumbs, you can substitute half the ground beef or pork you would normally use without noticing a difference. Experiment with the amounts that will satisfy you.

Sausages and a hot dogs are a good example of meats that rely very heavily on seasonings for their distinct taste, so instead of high fat pork and beef versions, you might be surprised that you can’t tell the difference. If you’ve ever had a vegetarian hot dog, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about; many people say they can’t tell the difference between that and the real thing.

If you just must have beef or pork, choose grass fed, farm raised, natural varieties when you can. They’ll cost a bit more, but they will taste much better than conventional alternatives.

You don’t have to give up meat to be healthy and eat right, and every little bit counts. It doesn’t take much to make changes and you can do it gradually if that’s what works for you.  When you can make the substitutions, go for it, when you want a juicy burger, go for that too.

Do you regularly make substitutions like this for health reasons?

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