Your Guide to Start Choosing the Best Soy Foods

Soy is the new sugar. It’s everywhere around us, especially in processed foods like tofu, soybean oil, meat and dairy alternatives and soy sauce.

Soy-based products have especially gained popularity with an increasing trend in vegetarian and vegan diets.

Since this product is one of the better sources of plant protein, supermarkets around the country are flooded with ‘fake’ meat and dairy products like cheese, bacon, corn dogs, hamburgers and chicken-less nuggets all made from soy protein.

Looking to swap out meat and dairy for a healthier source of plant protein? Here are the best soy foods to fulfill your nutritional requirements.

soybeans

Edamame

Edamame is probably one of the purest forms of soybean which are harvested when the crop is green and has fleshy texture to it. It can either be consumed on its own as a snack or served as a vegetable side to the main dish.

Raw edamame beans are extremely poisonous. That is why they must be boiled in salted water for at least 15 minutes before consumption. They are one of the best soy foods, rich in protein and fiber while having low cholesterol content.

Meat and Dairy Alternatives

Soy protein and tofu and commonly used in imitation meats such as vegan sausages, burgers, fish sticks and hot dogs – but because these plant-based alternatives are cholesterol free, they are even better for your health than meat products

Miso

Commonly used in Japanese cooking, miso paste is a salty paste made from soy which can add a unique flavor to a number of foods such as soups, marinades and dressings.

Miso doesn’t contain as much protein as other soy-based products. And, it is really high in sodium which is why it should be used sparingly.

Soymilk

soy milk

One of the most popular whole milk alternatives is made from soy. The beans are soaked, blended into a paste and strained to extract all the liquid which is called soymilk.

This dairy alternative comes in fortified and unfortified forms which are both high in protein and B vitamins. However, the fortified soymilk contains two important vitamins that aren’t found in the unfortified version: calcium and vitamin D.

Soy Nuts

Want a low-fat alternative to nuts? Look no further. Soy nuts, which are made by roasting soybeans until they’re brown and crunchy, aren’t just high in protein but also taste similar to peanuts with less than half the calorie count.

Soy Sauce

This sauce is a common condiment and ingredient used in a variety of Asian dishes from sushi to stir fries and soups. This dark brown, salty liquid is made from fermenting soybeans and has minimal protein content.

Tempeh

Tempeh is a slightly chunkier version of tofu which is made by mixing soybeans with other grains such as millet or rice and pressed into a brick that can be cut up and used in stews, marinates, soups and stir fries.

Tofu

Tofu is probably the most popular soy food of all times made from fresh soymilk curdles which is either pressed into an extra-firm bar or a much softer ‘silk’ tofu. It is rich is B vitamins and protein and low in sodium and cholesterol.

The extra firm variety can be used for drilling, frying and stewing purposed whereas the delicate silk tofu works best in blended dishes.

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