These Brands Make Meatless Monday a Little Tastier for Meat Eaters
If you are looking to give up meat occasionally, for health or environmental reasons, then we’ve got you covered. Here are 4 brands that are sure to satisfy your meaty cravings without skimping on protein and vitamins and nutrients (though, as an added bonus, you will probably reduce your fat intake by quite a bit with these swaps). As an added bonus, most grocery stores carry these products so you can reduce your carbon footprint even further by saving gas and getting all of your groceries in one place meaning you save time and money.
Gardein Meatless Meat Products
Gardein offers a wide variety of meatless meat products for those looking for a yummy meat substitute that is versatile and can take the place of different meats in meals throughout the day. Folks rave about Gardein products, mostly because they hold up to their meaty counterparts quite well in taste, texture, and satisfaction, but often at a fraction of the calories.
Whether it is a good basket of chicken fingers to satisfy your inner kid tastebuds, a delicious barbecue pulled pork sandwich at a summer grill out, a quick weekday meatloaf eaten at the family table, or even a fancy date night at home involving wine and Gardein’s Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips, Gardein has you covered. When the vegan and vegetarian meat substitutes became popular, many products were seriously lacking in both flavor and texture. Luckily, Gardein’s products are a far cry from the slimy, overly chewy, and grainy texture that other meatless products have.
The downside of Gardein products for many folks is the long list of ingredients on the package. Many people are conscientious about what is going into the foods they are eating and how many processed versus natural and organic ingredients are being used. However, the ingredient list on Gardein products avoids most “weird, chemically-sounding” ingredients that many other processed foods contain. In short, Gardein products contain a lot of different vegan protein and carbohydrate sources, such as soy, quinoa, millet, potato starch, canola oil, safflower oil, pea protein, and beetroot and carrot fiber.
Amy’s has grown substantially in size since it first debuted on the meatless market and for good reason! Folks can’t seem to get enough of Amy’s products, especially the various burger patty options and flavorful meatless ethnic meals like Mexican burritos, enchiladas, and tamales, Italian meatless meatballs and meatless pepperoni pizzas, and Asian-inspired dishes like Amy’s Pad Thai and Amy’s Indian Golden Lentil Soup. Not only are most of Amy’s products meat-free, but most fit a wide variety of diets, including wheat- and gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, tree nut-free, and organic only diets.
As far as burgers are concerned, Amy’s has several flavors including the standard All American Veggie Burger, the Black Bean Veggie Burger and the California Veggie Burger which is made with a combination of vegetables, grains, and nuts that give it its namesake West Coast flavor. One of the biggest advantages of Amy’s products is how many different varieties of meals, flavors, and dishes there are. Consumers can enjoy the company’s products for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and even at snack time (pizza bites!) and dessert. (Vegan candy? Yes please!)
Plus, a lot of Amy’s products are sold in cans, particularly Amy’s many varieties of chili and soups and in the freezer section, helping you to save on cost by buying in bulk and having them last for months in your freezer or pantry, ready for you whenever you want them. (An added bonus? You can buy Amy’s products directly online and have them shipped right to your door.)
Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, launched his company after spending his childhood weekends out on the family dairy farm and questioning why humans and the world have chosen to consume protein in the ways that we do (i.e. mainly through animals). Specifically, he was concerned about the negative impacts meat production was having on the environment and the treatment of the animals. So in 2009, Ethan created Beyond Meat and the company hasn’t looked back since.
The company sells its various beef, pork, and chicken imitation products at stores around the nation now, but its standout for most reviewers are the Beyond Beef Crumble (to be used in place of ground beef) and The Beyond Burger. The Beyond Meat company might not have quite the extensive list of products that Amy’s or Gardein has yet, but it does market to particular target audiences, including “Meatless Meat Heads” (i.e. vegan or vegetarian powerlifters and gym rats).
Beyond Meat products are packed full of protein, and closely imitate the protein content of beef. Particularly intriguing is the company’s “Beast Burgers 2.0” that are bigger and contain more protein than the traditional burger patties. (In fact, depending on the type of beef product you are eating, Beyond Meat products actually have more protein than all-beef products with less fat and cholesterol and for virtually the same amount of calories.)
And if you are eating out at a restaurant and ordering a vegan or vegetarian meat product, there is a decent chance that you will be eating a Beyond Meat product. Restaurant chains like TGI Fridays and Bareburger are actually using and marketing Beyond Meat as their vegetarian burger of choice.
MorningStar Farms markets themselves as “America’s #1 veggie burger brand”. Probably because they are one of the pioneers in the meatless meat product categories and can be found in many families’ freezers around the country. Consumers can’t get enough of their veggie burgers, in particular. The front-runners for the best burger flavors include the Spicy Black Bean Burger and the Grillers Original Burger.
MorningsStar Farms sets its products apart from others specifically because they have absolutely nailed the textured of a real burger. Dressed up with cheese, ketchup, and mayo, and served on a toasted sesame seed bun? You will be hard-pressed to tell the difference from the real thing. But if you aren’t a fan of the burger taste, MorningStar Farms as some great “Chik’n” products, corn dogs and yummy veggie bowls.
- 14 Meats That Are Better Than Grass-Fed and Totally Humane, Choose Veg blog, May 13, 2016 ,
- Gardein Fake Meat Review, No Meat Athlete Blog Post, Feb 28, 2010 ,
- 10 Questions: Ethan Brown, CEO, Beyond Meat, Fortune.com article, Jan 31, 2014 ,
- I Just Tried a Beyond Burger * Here's What I Honestly Think, Impatient Foodie Blog, ,