A recent Virginia Tech study found consumers, overall, acknowledged the value of eating more plant-rich meals to support both their health and the environment.

Although, when looking at actual food behaviors, just 26% of consumers across all ages reported following a plant-rich diet. This was a 3-year increase, though, from the previously reported 12%. Interestingly, younger generations were more likely to follow a plant-rich diet than older generations.

While Americans overall prioritized plant foods, paradoxically red meat consumption increased. This is inconsistent with the Mediterranean diet, along with other plant-based eating patterns, which downplay the foundational role of meat by eating small amounts and/or eating infrequently.

A red meat alternative: veggie “meats”. They get their protein from soy, peas, wheat, legumes and/or egg whites. 

A recent issue of Nutrition Action from the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, reviewed beefless burgers and other meatless products.

Best Bites have at least 10 g protein per serving for burgers, grounds/crumbles, and meatballs. An Honorable Mention rating was given to products with less than 10 g protein.

Burger Best Bites include Morning Star’s Garden Veggie, Original and Prime Griller; Beyond Burger; 365 Traditional Plant-Based Burger, Gardein Be’f Burger. 

Grounds and crumbles Best Bites include Morningstar Grillers Crumbles, Impossible Beef Lite, Beyond Beef Original Crumbles, Beyond Beef.

Meatballs Best Bites recognition went to Gardein and Morningstar.

Tips to enhance your veggie burger experience: Serve on an interesting bun (Dave’s 21 Whole Grains and Seeds Organic Buns) and top with sliced tomato, lettuce, arugula and/or a red onion slice.

About Mary Lynne Hixson, MA, RD:

Mary Lynne, a registered dietitian, helps others enhance their health through the advocacy of nutrient-rich food choices and safe food-handling practices. Her expertise also includes counseling patients who have Type 2 diabetes and advising those who are in medically managed weight loss programs. After her 35+ year career, she retired and became involved with the launch of Harvest of Hope Pantry in 2012 as a Board of Directors member. Mary Lynne is a weekly volunteer with Cultivate’s Carry-Out Caravan program, shopping and delivering groceries to seniors in the Boulder area, and also a frequent volunteer with Harvest of Hope.