Plant-based food alternatives can be as tasty as real meat products

Sure, veggies are good for you. They are loaded with nutrients that can help fight diseases, stress and obesity, just to name a few of their benefits. But eating this healthy food group on a regular basis can be quite a challenge for those who simply find vegetables unappealing to the taste buds.

One enticing way to start appreciating vegetables is to try the plant-based food options that taste like real meat products and dishes. Craving for a big and juicy burger? No problem. Several food establishments now offer what they call the healthier alternatives.

Burger King, for instance, has the plant-based Whopper and Whopper Jr. that retain its signature smoky, flame-grilled flavor. You can also enjoy the Truffle Whopper by asking for the plant-based patty in lieu of the regular beef variety. The same goes for Brothers Burger, which has a whole veggie burger line, and Shakey’s with its “good burger.”


Army Navy, on the other hand, has plant-based burgers, burritos, soft tacos and quesadillas. Pancake House also now has meat-free tacos and spaghetti (the pasta sauce uses plant-based ingredients).

If you want to make your own burger, you can head not only to specialty shops selling vegetarian and vegan products but to the nearest supermarket to buy the ready-to-cook meat alternatives. Leading Filipino brands unMEAT and Veega have, aside from burger patties, other familiar giniling or ground meat, sausages, meatballs and nuggets. UnMEAT has also started a new line of frozen pizza, also available in many supermarkets.

Many food establishments that offer plant-based items in their menu use either local or important brands of meat alternatives. Some of them get into partnerships to further promote the plant-based eating lifestyle.

Soy protein as the main ingredient

Both Veega and unMEAT use either whole soy or mixed wheat and soy protein as the main ingredient, with the former also adding mushroom for additional protein source and flavor. Soy protein, which is isolated from soybeans, contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce. Soy itself is rich in isoflavones, B vitamins, fiber, potassium and magnesium.

Soy protein can “safely be consumed several times a week,” according to an article published in the Harvard School of Public Health, and may “provide health benefits — especially when eaten as an alternative to red and processed meat.”

Quorn, a European brand of meat substitute that is also available in local supermarket, has developed its own protein source called mycoprotein. It comes from, according to its website, the “natural, nutritious” fungus Fusarium venenatum.

After trying out these meat alternatives, perhaps it’s time to move up to whole (meaning unprocessed or minimally processed) food products, such as fresh vegetables and fruits for a truly plant-based diet.