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6 Healthy Veggies You Can Substitute for Meat

One of the biggest assumptions is that going vegan will automatically improve your health, but those who switch to a vegan junk food diet soon discover a poor vegan diet can ruin your health.

Like on any diet, you need to get all essential nutrients in order to maintain optimal health on a vegan diet. If you’re not keen, your diet might lack some of the essential nutrients found in meat, such as iron, vitamin B12 and omega 3s.

The good news is you don’t need to take supplements to get these nutrients, with the exception of vitamin B12. You just need to eat certain veggies. Below are the healthy veggies you can substitute for meat.

Kale Chips

1. Dark Leafy Greens

There are many reasons to love dark leafy greens, like kale and collard greens. They’re among the best sources of magnesium, and they can give your body the iron it needs. Just be wary of greens like spinach and Swiss chard, which contain a lot of iron but also contain antinutrients that can block iron absorption.

The truth is, you have a higher risk of iron deficiency than you may think. Two percent of men and nine to 20 percent of women in the U.S. have iron deficiency, not just vegans. Plus, it’s the most common vitamin deficiency in the world.

Other vegan sources of iron include fortified bread, beans, raisins and cereals.

2. Eggplant

Most people associate eggplant with a vegan diet because of its meaty texture. Well, you won’t get bored with eggplant! You can prepare it through grilling, stir-frying or baking.

Eggplant is a good source of manganese, folate, fiber, potassium, copper, vitamins B1 and B6, and niacin.

6 Healthy Veggies You Can Substitute for Meat

3. Cauliflower

You don’t have to skip all your favorite recipes that had meat. For some recipes, you can use cauliflower instead of meat. For instance, you can make succulent Cauliflower Steaks smothered in chimichurri sauce.

You may be also happy to find out that cauliflower contains small amounts of omega 3s.

4. Artichokes

Artichokes are the perfect meat substitute for two reasons. One is they have good amounts of protein – a medium bulb contains 4.2g of protein. Second, they’re very filling, thanks to the high fiber content.

You can cook them by boiling, steaming, microwaving, roasting and grilling.

Grilled Artichokes

5. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are not as popular as they should be, considering they have good amounts of omega 3s, fiber, and vitamin C and K.

Unlike meat, which increases the risk of heart disease, cruciferous veggies such as Brussels sprouts can lower your heart disease risk by 16 percent, according to research.

6. Potatoes

You can replace meat with potatoes in so many meals or even use them as the main ingredient in meals. This study shows that replacing meat with potatoes can lower the risk of a heart attack.

Are there other veggies that you substitute for meat? Tell us your favorites in the comments.

Images via Getty

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