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.