4 Shopping Tips for Vegetarians

Shopping for veggie burgers? Meatless adaptations are not always the healthiest option.

By Janis Graham from Reader's Digest | October 2008

In the past seven years, more than 2,400 vegetarian convenience foods have been introduced. But products like vegetable “chicken” nuggets and tofu scrambled “eggs” are not always healthier choices. Some guidelines:

  • Watch for sodium. It flavors many meat substitutes. Choose entrées with fewer than 600 milligrams per serving, says dietitian Elisa Zied, author of So What Can I Eat?!
  • Check the flavorings. Meatless adaptations of barbecue ribs or Swiss steak are more likely to get their flavor from an overload of sugar, oil, or salt.
  • Try soybean hot dogs, chicken nuggets, or burgers — all high in protein but lower in fat and calories.
  • Shop savvy. Vegetarian brands of foods that are meatless anyway (cheese lasagna, enchiladas) generally cost more but usually aren’t any better for you.