Caitlin Adler is a vegan Accredited Sports Nutritionist, Strength & Conditioning coach and bodybuilder at Plant Forged Physique. Her passion is helping vegans achieve their health and fitness goals with evidence-based guidance and expertise.
It feels like almost every week you can walk into a grocery store and see a new plant-based meat product. It’s absolutely fantastic to see the increasing visibility of vegan products and the range of options available.
Plant-based meats are designed to taste delicious and appeal to a large audience. Perfect for a tasty and convenient meal. They can also add variety, introduce people to veganism, and make a plant-based diet easier to sustain long term.
As taste and appeal is the first and foremost priority, nutrition is often secondary for some products. So the nutritional quality of mock meats has a spectrum.
This can be challenging for someone working towards a health or fitness goal – especially if they are aiming for a protein or calorie target. They will want plant-based meats that are efficient sources of protein and are nutritionally dense.
In this scenario, we want plant-based products to meet some of these criteria:
1 It’s a complete or quality protein
The ingredients feature soy, or use a combo of wheat/peas/legumes/rice/seed proteins
2 Efficient protein source
Preferably >14g of protein per 100 calories, or >2.5g of protein per 1g of fat and more grams of protein than carbs.
3 Low in saturated fat & sodium
<2g of saturated fat per 100g
<450mg of sodium per 100g
4 Nutrient dense
Fortified with iron, B12 or zinc – or naturally rich in these
Does that mean you should avoid products that don’t meet this criteria?
No! Other products might not be as health-seeking or protein-efficient but that does not mean they should be excluded completely.
Enjoying your food is still important and these products play an important role by being a delicious indulgence or tasty treat to have on occasion.
Your goal and the purpose of the meal (i.e. to fuel your training vs. an indulgent meal) will influence how important it is for the product to meet the criteria above.
We’ve gathered together a few of our favourite products that tick all or most of the criteria above.
However, don’t feel limited by our recommendations, as new options are becoming available all the time. Check the ingredients list and find the plant-based meats that work best for you.
NOTE: Vegan Easy does not have a commercial agreement with any of the following companies – these products were chosen based upon their nutritional content only. Some providers may also manufacture non-vegan products, which we do not endorse.
Sunfed Bull Free Beef – Raw Prime Mince
Sunfed Chicken Free Chicken – Wild Meaty Chunks
Sunfed Boar Free Bacon – Premium Hickory
Sunfed Bull Free Beef – Raw Prime Diced
VEGAN QUORN, GOLD & GREEN & NEXT!
Quorn Frozen Vegan Fillets
Gold & Green Pulled Oats Nude
Next! Plant Based Chick N Chunks
Plant Asia Plant-based Roast Duck
Plant Asia Plant Based Roast Chicken
Plant Asia Plant-based Roast Pork
DELICIOU & BIRDSEYE
Deliciou Plant Based Chicken
Deliciou Plant Based Pork
Birds Eye Plant Based Chicken Strips
Plant-based meats can be super convenient and tasty! The nutritional quality varies from product to product, so they exist on a spectrum from delicious occasional indulgence to nutrient-dense and protein-packed.
It’s just a matter of flipping over the pack, giving the nutrition label a glance, and seeing where on the spectrum of health-seeking to indulgent it sits. Depending on your goal and the purpose of the meal, different products will fit different scenarios.