Published on November 22nd, 2012 | by No Artificial
Thanksgiving may be traditionally focused on a turkey, but there’s no need for vegetarians to be left out of the feast.
According to a latest Gallup poll 5 percent of American adults consider themselves to be vegetarians.
Unmarried adults are more than twice as likely as married adults to be vegetarians. Vegetarianism seems to be to be slightly more common among women than among men, and among those who are older than among younger adults, but these are not major differences.
Gallup also finds that 2% consider themselves to be “vegans.”
Furthermore, according to a Department of Agriculture report, Americans in general are eating less meat and they’re expected to eat 12.2 percent less meat in 2012 than they did 2007.
About 88 percent of people eat turkey at Thanksgiving, meaning there are about 46 million birds purchased for the big day, compared to 22 million eaten at Christmas, according to the National Turkey Federation’s estimates.
But if you don’t eat meet, what are your options?
Today, there are a number of meat substitute, such as Tofurky Feast.
A number of “turkey” products can add to the holiday atmosphere in the same way as an actual bird. “We don’t put whole turkeys on our table on a regular basis,” said in an interview with The Huffington Post, Becky Hand, R.D., consulting dietitian for SparkPeople. “It’s one of these extra-special things for the celebration — I feel that’s why these [imitation] products are popular.”
We have to remember that these turkey replacements are still processed foods, after all.
“A lot of these are heavily processed, where you lose some of the nutritional benefits found in soy naturally,” claimed in an interview with The Huffington Post Vandana Sheth, R.D., C.D.E., registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She suggests picking a faux-turkey product with the fewest number of ingredients on the label.
Another downside is sodium, explained Becky Hand. “Most of them fall in the range of 500 to 700 milligrams, which is about a third of your needs for the day.” That’s a little high, she says, but doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. “You could easily incorporate that into your daily intake, as long as you’re doing lower-sodium side dishes,” she added.
But faux-turkey options aren’t all bad! “I think they’re an excellent way to obtain protein,” claimed Hand, in a nod to one of the main concerns some have about becoming a vegetarian. The protein usually comes from lentils, beans or soy, she says. Those that are made from a type of bean can also be a good source of fiber, she added.
Vandana Sheth recommended making a vegetarian option like stuffed portobello mushrooms, lasagna, stuffed acorn squash, a meatless loaf made with lentils and beans or a vegetarian chili with lots of beans and veggies.
The Huffington Post