Sharon's new book California Vegan is available for pre-order now!

The Best in Meat Alternatives

Sharon Palmer

Wondering how your favorite meat alternatives stack up? You’re not alone! There are so many meatless “meat” products on store shelves these days, including faux burgers, bacon, chicken, sausages, deli slices, and even fish! You can find a plant-based meat replacement to satisfy almost any taste or recipe requirement. But how do they stack up nutritionally?

Well, many offer a great nutritional option for replacing meat on your plate. But others can be skimpy on the protein, and generous on the sodium and saturated fat levels. When choosing meat alternatives, look for those that provide adequate levels of protein, which is an essential nutrient required for a variety of body functions, and also helps keep you feeling satisfied for longer. I recommend looking for products that provide at least 7 grams of protein per serving. At the same time, take care of your overall health by choosing heart-healthy meat alternatives. Look for those that have less than 500 milligrams of sodium and 2 grams of saturated fat per serving. While you’re at it, do look for products that are packed with whole plant foods, such as beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, grains, and vegetables. This will provide you with bonus nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Check out this comprehensive nutrition chart for popular meat alternatives below. And don’t forget to try making your own healthier meat alternatives at home, such as veggie burgers, veggie “meatballs”, and lentil patties. Here are three of my favorite recipes:

Edamame Ancient Grain Veggie Burgers
Sage White Bean Veggie Balls
Lentil Patties with Basil Arugula Cashew Cream

This Spicy Sorghum Sweet Potato Veggie Burger is a healthier alternative to many store-bought meat alternatives.

Meat Alternatives Nutritional Comparison

Meat AlternativesServ Size (g)CalFat (g)Sat Fat (g)Carbs (g)Sodium (mg)Fiber (g)Sugar (g)Protein (g)
365 Breaded Chickenless Nuggets, 2.1 oz601305012350219
365 Breaded Chickenless Patties, 1 patty7115060144102111
365 Plant-Based Burgers, 1 patty711307063601112
365 Meatless Meatballs, 4 meatballs601104093703112
Amy’s All-American Veggie Burger, 1 patty7113040134304211
Amy’s Organic Sonoma Veggie Burger, GF, 1 patty 7113050.518410324
Amy’s Quarter Pound Veggie Burger, 1 patty 11321040.5245506619
Beyond Meat Burger, 1 patty11325018363902020
Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Crumble, Beefy, ½ cup, GF55803012401012
Boca All American Veggie Burger, 1 patty (Contains Dairy)711104.5174604213
Boca Chick’n Vegan Patties, 1 patty7113040.5136403011
Bubba Burger, Original Veggie, 1 patty851202.5020300414
Dr. Praeger’s Kale Veggie Burgers, 1 patty, GF7112060.514210112
Dr. Praeger’s Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers, 1 patty, GF7114070.516280715
Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers, 1 patty7112050.514240415
Dr. Praeger’s All American Veggie Burgers, 1 patty7124011274604028
Engine 2 Pinto Habanero Plant Burger, 

1 patty, GF

751001019100504
Field Roast Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage, 2 pieces441003.5073202310
Field Roast Fieldburger, 1 patty 92290165104403225
Field Roast Fruffalo Wings, without sauce, 7 wings85270151234301611
Field Roast Italian Sausage, 1 piece9222080.5136000225
Gardein Beefless Tips, ¾ cup10017070.584003119
Gardein Chick’n Scallopini,711106053500<111
Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burger, GF, 1 Patty851406018410536
Gardein Golden Fishless Filet, 2 pieces9618012112350309
Gardein Ultimate Beefless Burger, 1 patty851405083303115
Gardenburger Portabella Veggie Burger, 1 patty719020.516460514
Hilary’s Fiesta Black Bean Veggie Burger, 1 patty, GF781907122280718
Hilary’s Spicy Veggie Sausage, 1 piece, GF521004013230223
Hilary’s World’s Best Veggie Burger, 1 patty, GF9116070.520260303
Impossible Burger, 4oz11324014893703<119
Lightlife Plant-Based Burgers, 1 patty113270172.5105402120
Lightlife Gimme Lean Beef, 2 oz5660007330318
Lightlife Plant-based Italian Sausage, 1 sausage90220126125003216
Lightlife Smart Menu Veggie Meatballs, 3 pieces761001.5093704113
Lightlife Smart Tenders Savory Chick’n, 3 pieces851000073705018
Morning Star Farms Bacon Strips, 2 strips16604.50.52230102
Morning Star Farms Buffalo Chick Patties,1 patty711606119320329
Morning Star Farms Grillers Crumbles, ½ cup58602043304<19
Morning Star Farms Maple Flavored Sausage Patties, 1 patty3880305250128
Morning Star Farms Veggie Dogs, 1 dog40500.504430<127
Nate’s Meatless Meatballs, Zesty Italian, 3 meatballs43904.504340219
Organic Sunshine Burger, Barbecue, 1 patty, GF75250141.523320719
Quorn Meatless Pieces, 1 cup, GF11013031112006<117
Quorn Vegan Meatless Spicy Patties, 1 patty661305014230318
Sweet Earth Benevolent Bacon391004072501210
Sweet Earth Harmless Ham, 1.8 oz521003153001214
Sweet Earth Frozen Santa Fe Veggie Burger, 1 patty851704.50.5242105311
Tofurkey Italian Sausage, 1 sausage100280141.586201330
Tofurkey Slow-Roasted Chick’n, Original, 3.2oz91230121115402223
Trader Joe’s Chickenless Mandarin Orange Morsels, 3 oz13125080.53567001616
Trader Joe’s Meatless Breakfast Patties, 1 patty35804.503230107
Yves The Good Dog, 1 dog3845102260007
Yves The Good Veggie Burger751103.5073202<113
Yves Veggie Ham, 5 slices51801053600<112

 

Note: This information is based on product websites. This chart does not represent all meat alternatives available on the market.

For other plant-based meat alternative recipes, try the following:

Sesame Roasted Tempeh
Grilled Spicy Asian Tofu
Chipotle Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers

Image: Farro and White Bean Veggie Burger from Plant-Powered for Life, Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN

Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN with Ally Mirin, Dietetic Intern; Updated on September 23, 2019.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *