Skip the Fake-Meat Burgers: Try These Plant-Based Recipes

Black Bean Wrap
Print icon
Mary Noon

Mary Noon

Plant-based burgers are becoming popular and are not only available at your local grocery store but also at the top national fast-food chains.

The two top contenders are the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat burger. These burgers tout not only a high protein burger from plants but also a juicy flavorful burger similar to beef. Let’s first talk about why they are becoming so popular and why we should be interested.

It is widely known that eating less red meat is part of a healthy diet to ward off diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney and cardiovascular diseases. The American Heart Association, the American Institute for Cancer Research, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control stand by taking measures to reduce our red meat consumption and avoid processed meats. Moving in this direction has beneficial effect on our weight, cholesterol level, blood pressure and blood sugar control. Plant based diets also point us in the direction of sustainability saving our planet’s natural resources such as water.

Plant-based diets rely on grains, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and herbs. This is what needs to be kept in mind when starting to change one’s diet. Often, alternative burgers and other products may sound like a good thing, but they can also be highly processed. Some may include concentrates, additives and preservatives. Reading the product’s ingredient list can determine this as well as determine the protein source like soy, whey or legumes.

It can also reveal what kind of fat is used to achieve the “juicy” texture. Surprisingly, it can turn up saturated fats (the kind that raises blood cholesterol) like coconut oil accounting for a high value under saturated fat on the Nutrition Facts label. This is important to think about because a 4-ounce hamburger contains 7.5 grams of saturated fat and popular plant burgers are 8-9 grams saturated fat, making it not that much different from a traditional burger. (Note: 13 grams is the recommended limit for a person consuming a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.) Some products may use a combination of different and/or healthier fats.

Instead, think about simple ways to reduce meat like making a garbanzo bean burger or maybe something less ambitious like substituting a black bean taco in place of a ground beef taco. Try making a vegetarian chili without any added meat or experiment with a vegetable curry recipe. These are simple measures we can adopt to improve our diets and prevent disease.

I was introduced to some of these interesting recipes at a recent event entitled Forward Food. The Humane Society of the United States offers these presentations to help Americans eat more plants vs. meat. They point out that it preserves our natural resources, saves us money and protects farm animals. So give it a try. Click here for some inspiring recipes.

Mary Noon is a registered dietitian and nutritionist at Hartford Hospital. 

Want even more information and personalized advice? Make an appointment with a registered dietitian. Call us at Hartford Hospital (860.972.2604) and we can tell you how. 

Looking for information on surgical weight loss? Visit WhatWillYouGain.org to find a FREE community education class near you!


What's New

Three people jogging on road, winter background.

Don’t Let Winter Freeze Your Exercise Routine: Here’s How

As the cold weather and snow begins to arrive in New England it’s time to start thinking of ways to keep exercising throughout the winter months.  As Dayle Stark, DPT (doctorate of physical therapy) from Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network explains, there are many ways to remain active no matter what...

Gifts for the Kitchen

A Dietitian’s Good-for-You Holiday Gift Guide

As the days count down, are you still looking for meaningful gifts for those few left on your holiday shopping list? I try to consider gifts that can make 2020 more healthy and productive.  Maybe a couple of these ideas will pique your interest enough to check out further. For...


Hartford HealthCare Names First Connecticut Courage Award Winners

At the age of 15, University of New Haven football team senior running back Chris Liggio lost both his parents in a murder-suicide. Taylor Herd, a senior guard on the Quinnipiac University women’s basketball team, suffered two ACL tears in the same knee in high school, and her father has...

Healthy Diet

Cancer Survivors: Find The Power of a Healthy Diet

By Diane Avino Dietitian Gray Cancer Center Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital Eating well is important during all stages of life, but it’s particularly important for cancer survivorship. Adequate nutrition is a crucial part of staying well through cancer treatments as well as promoting your long-term health. Eating...

Immunotherapy

As Cancer Treatment Evolves, a Focus on Reducing Side Effects

By Dr. Omar Eton Melanoma DMT Lead Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute Over the past two decades, there has been great progress in understanding the relationship between cancer and the defenses a patient can muster against it. This led to a Nobel Prize for James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo in...

Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

By Dr. Bret Schipper Chief of Surgical Oncology The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center Stomach, or gastric, cancer in the United States is somewhat rare, but it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. According to the American Cancer Society, about 27,500 cases of stomach cancer will...

How the mind reacts to tragedy.

How the Mind Responds to Endless Bad National News

Two shootings in two days at military bases in Hawaii and Florida barely made the evening news, and these tragedies didn’t result in much water cooler talk, either. Is this the new normal? Not necessarily, according to Dr. Anthony Ng, medical director of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network’s East...