Replacing Animal Based Foods With Vegetarian Foods

One of the more popular trends occurring worldwide is the switch to vegetarian based foods. While some people who make the switch aren’t 100% vegetarians, they are certainly more aware of the foods they are eating. If you would like to make the switch here is a list of the most commonly substituted vegetarian foods.

Animal Proteins

There are several vegetarian foods available to take the place of meat. Depending on what you want to replace, here are some suggestions.

Steak can be replaced with baked Portobello mushrooms. The taste very similar to streak with the same texture and juiciness.

Chicken can be replaced by tofu in a number of dishes especially if those dishes are stir fried.

TVP or textured vegetable protein comes in small dry checks and look like dried vegetables. Made of soy, they cook quickly supplying vegetable protein without the unnecessary fat. TVP is mainly used to replace meats in stews and soups. It’s widely available in supermarkets and natural food stores.

Eggplants can be prepared by stuffing, roasting, grilled or fried (NO FRIED FOODS) and can replace meat with relative ease.

Mmm… Beans

Soybeans provide the perfect building blocks you need to build muscle by eating several difference vegetable proteins together. The combinations include rice and beans or yogurt and chopped nuts.

Some of the best nonmeat sources of protein are legumes (dried peas and beans), nuts, and seeds. Be careful with the nuts and seeds as they add fat. Here are few nonmeat sources that provide the same amount of protein in an ounce of animal protein.

¼ cup of sunflower or pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup of pecan, peanuts, almonds or any other nuts

½ cup of cooked dry beans

½ cup of baked beans

½ cup of tofu


If going vegan is your thing you’re going to want to avoid dairy products. This means replacing cheeses. There are a variety of vegan cheeses available in your supermarket that taste like cheddar, mozzarella and Monterey jack. Crumbled tofu is a good substitute for cottage cheese and ricotta cheese. Tofu cream cheese is available to replace regular cream cheese

Any of the cheeses above can be used when you need to melt cheese like on pizzas and in sauces.

Cow’s Milk

Soy milk easily replaces cow’s milk. It’s created by soaking and cleaning soy beans overnight, pureeing them, straining the solids out and then the liquid is boiled for 10 minutes. I’m sure you have seen soy milk sitting next to the cow’s milk at the supermarket.

· Some of the benefits of soy milk are

· More protein and fiber than cow’s milk

· It has isoflavones which are thought to prevent cancers, heart disease and osteoporosis.

· Contains 2 percent fat with zero cholesterol

· Older women can use soy milk to reduce menopause symptoms like hot flashes

The downside to soy is that it doesn’t contain any calcium. You’ll need to get it from somewhere else. That’s easy if you grab some almonds or green leafy vegetables.

Chocolate Milk

It’s been well documented that there are benefits to eating dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains flavonols which may help protect you from cancer. However, milk chocolate doesn’t have the same benefit because milk proteins bind to those flavonols making them unavailable. Cocoa is naturally bitter (ever tasted cocoa powder?) so sugar or high fructose corn syrup is added to milk chocolate to sweeten it.

An alternative to milk chocolate is the caffeine-free substitute known as Carob. Carob comes from the fruit of carob trees. Carob trees are generally found in the Middle East and Mediterranean. The powder format is what is generally used as the substitute and its high in fiber. Be careful though as Carob contains just as many calories as chocolate.

Replacing Mayonnaise

A lot of people like to load mayonnaise on their sandwiches. What they don’t realize is mayonnaise is basically pure fat. Keep in mind that it’s not all bad fat but it’s still around 50 calories per tablespoon. Those calories will add up quick! A quick and easy way to replace egg based mayonnaise is to replace it with tofu mayonnaise. If you Google “tofu mayonnaise recipe” there are really good varieties out there that you can try but my favorite are any that are made with garlic and Dijon mustard.

No more eggs

This one is easy. There are a number of egg substitutes out there. Some of them even have veggies mixed into them. The hardest part about getting rid of eggs is they are used in baking a lot of recipes. Again, Google “replacing eggs in baking” and you’ll find some good alternatives. Again, this one is tough.

Replace sour cream

Like mayonnaise, sour cream is packed full of fats. However, sour cream is mostly bad, saturated fats. Replacing it with a tofu based recipe is the answer here if you’re vegan because vegetarians will simply add some yogurt. Google “tofu sour cream” for some really good recipes. Tofu sour cream usually has some lemon juice and vinegar to give it the “sour” taste.

Non-Dairy Ice Cream

Non-dairy ice creams have been around for a long time. You’ll probably notice a few them: gelato (ooh, so good!), sorbet and fudgesicles. There are some soy based ice creams that are tasty as well. You can even make your own. Paletas are an awesome way to not only cool down but get your fresh fruits and veggies as well. Make sure you substitute the cow’s milk with soy milk!

Replacing your everyday foods with vegetarian choices is very easy and simple to do. It will take some adjusting and learning but if you’re truly dedicated to becoming a vegetarian then this should get you started!