Veggie Burgers: How They Stack Up

Are veggie burgers really meatless? Yes, it is exactly as the name suggests—no meat. Yet in the eyes of many meat lovers, comparing the taste and texture of veggie burgers just does not stack up to its meat counterpart. While some are made to mimic the taste, texture color and feel of meat burgers, veggie burgers aren’t just a meat substitute. Veggie burgers are available for those who may not like the taste of meat (but still want something hearty and healthy), have dietary restrictions, share different beliefs or simply just prefer the flavor and ingredients that make veggie burgers stand on its own.

Veggie Burgers

Gone are the days when veggie burgers were the lonesome, meatless option at a backyard barbecue. With the rise in vegetarianism and veganism in recent years, came an increase in consumer demand for more veggie burgers. In turn, the market for veggie burgers has also become widespread. They have successfully made their way on to fast-food menus like Burger King and McDonald’s and are even served by upscale restaurants.

For many vegetarians/vegans, people who are watching their intake of saturated fats or simply prefer the taste of it over a beef or turkey burger, veggie burgers can be a great option! However, if you have ever tried a veggie burger and are still eating veggie burgers today, odds are that you’ve probably tried many. There are dozens of varieties and flavors. Some are too dry or beany, too salty or contain fillers and tastes like cardboard. Then there are some that contain a long list of ingredients that you’ve never heard of before and probably can’t pronounce. On the other hand, there are those that contain less than 5 ingredients, contain wholesome ingredients like vegetables and grains like quinoa, which make it flavorful and savory. Let’s see how these meatless burgers stack up!

How These Veggie Burgers Stack Up

Veggie burgers can be quite delicious, and make for quick go-to lunches. But with so many options in the grocery aisles many are left to wonder, “Which brands are the best?” Not all patties are vegan or soy free. As some of the more familiar ones on the market are Amy’s Garden Burger, Boca, Morning Star, we thought we’d point out some of the ones that are lesser known and reason why we like them (in no particular order).

De Cantos

Vegan: Yes
Dairy, gluten and soy free
Fairly new to the market, these burgers deserve some spotlight.
Each burger contains 5 raw veggies and no fillers like wheat, gluten,
soy, dairy or added sugar. It is “meaty” in the sense that it is fulfilling,
but does not have a “meaty taste.” While the company delivers
locally in New Jersey, if you’re having trouble finding this product,
try looking at Whole Foods!

Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burgers

Vegan: Yes
Soy Free: No
Certified Kosher
Ingredients: Carrots, Onions, String Beans, Oat Bran, Soybeans,
Zucchini, Peas, Broccoli, Corn, Soy Flakes, Spinach, Expeller Pressed
Canola Oil, Red Peppers, Arrowroot, Corn Starch, Garlic, Corn Meal,
Salt, Parsley, Black PepperSome people prefer the taste and texture of “just vegetables” in their
veggie burgers. If that’s the case, then Dr. Praeger’s is just that. Only
downside is that it may be flimsy and may not hold up as well if you’re
throwing it in the microwave. To make sure the patty holds its shape,
it’s best prepared on a grill or flat pan.

Hilary’s Eat Well

Vegan: Yes
Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, corn free, yeast free, egg free,
and nut free.
Plus side: They’re packaged in biodegradable plastic pouches!
Ingredients: Water Millet Quinoa Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil
Spinach Onion Garlic Psyllium Husk Powder Arrowroot Sweet
Potato Real Salt Apple Cider Vinegar Sunflower Seed OilThis burger is packed with great spices and tastes close to a fresh
veggie burger. For those who are big on texture and don’t like to
be left wondering “Is this a veggie burger??” Well this one holds
its shape and has a balanced texture, not too chewy or soft.

 

Sunshine’s Organic Quarter Pound Original Veggie Burger

Vegan: Yes
Soy Free: No
Gluten free
Ingredients: Organic cooked brown rice, organic ground raw
sunflower seeds, organic carrots, organic spices, sea saltThis burger is rich, savory and packs a slightly nutty flavor. If you
are a fan of sunflower seeds, this is the burger for you.

Are Veggie Burgers Better for You?

When dining out, be mindful that the nutrition content of a veggie burger may vary depending on its cooking process. While the veggie patty itself may be a healthy option, as with ordering any burger at a restaurant, any fixin’s like cheese, condiments, or a side of fries alongside the bun can sometimes stack up in terms of calories and fats.

Our Favorite Veggie Burger

What’s our favorite veggie burger? Ideally, it is the one we can make ourselves!  While making veggie burgers from scratch can call for a bit of time and preparation, if you make them in big batches, you can simply freeze them and voila! You’ve got veggie burgers on the ready, made with your favorite vegetables and grains… ingredients that you yourself know and can pronounce! With a little research, you can find tons of recipes on the Internet. Or, if you want to start with an easy but homemade classic, try Portobello mushrooms. With light marinade, they can be hearty and mouthwatering.

If you haven’t found your “perfect veggie burger” and making one from scratch doesn’t sound very appetizing, don’t give up just yet! With a little patience and perhaps a lot of tastings, it’s possible to find a veggie burger that is more flavorful and delectable (if not more) as its counterpart!

A Desert Where Shopping Matters

From comparing grocery store prices to analyzing a product’s nutritional label, a weekend trip to the grocery store can turn into stressful and overwhelming task. Many of us want to eat healthier, but how can we shop for healthy foods while on a limited budget? Although price often plays a major role in influencing what we buy when we go food shopping, buying healthy foods doesn’t have to be expensive.

Many organizations are making an effort to tackle this nationwide issue by teaching nutrition education, but one organization’s unique efforts is City Harvest’s Shopping Matters, which takes place right in local grocery stores. And just like many other Americans, if money is what is keeping you from making healthy food purchases, I challenge you to think again. What if you could learn to stretch your budget, to buy and eat healthy foods? Read on to learn about the awesome efforts made by City Harvest, and the programs’ tips to get the most healthful bang for your buck.

What is Shopping Matters?

Shopping Matters is an initiative created by City Harvest in partnership with Share Our Strength. The two-hour grocery store tour is led by a qualified facilitator, who teaches the participants how to shop on a budget, read food labels, how to identify whole-grains and stretch your budget to create more than just one meal. After one hour, participants are presented with a $10 challenge to put what they’ve just learned into practice. Participants must follow specific guidelines, i.e. grain must be whole-grain bread or cereal, to buy at least one food from each food group totaling no more than $10. This part of the tour is particularly fun and exciting for the participants because it not only tests their knowledge but it offers motivation to try new foods like 2% milk rather than whole milk.

Another Kind of Desert

Can you imagine travelling 15 miles to buy a head of lettuce or some fresh fruit? Many of us are fortunate to be able to call Whole Foods or Trader Joes, our local market. With organic foods and fresh produce so readily available to us, it can be easy to forget that for many Americans, this is not the case. Imagine if the closest grocery store was too far to get to without transportation. An area where grocery stores are scarce or missing, this is called a food desert. Although there may be bodegas or take-out restaurants in the surrounding neighborhood, it would still be considered a food desert since many atimes only highly processed foods are offered. It is in these areas that poverty, obesity and health related diseases are at an all time high. City Harvest considers these factors and implements the Shopping Matters Tours in only specific neighborhoods. The tours currently take place in the following neighborhoods: 1) The South Bronx, 2) Stapleton, Staten Island 3). Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. By conducting the tours in the actual neighborhood markets like Key Foods, not only places the participants in a realistic environment, but makes the food culture relevant.

Build the Skills To Make Healthy Choices While On a Budget

A Shopping Matters Tour may not be taking place in your local market but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from the tips City Harvest has to offer! Here’s the inside scoop on the skills you need to build to stretch your budget and make tasty, healthy meals for you and your family:

  • Buy Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables – Not only will your produce taste better, but during peak season fresh produce costs less.
  • Fresh, Frozen and Canned – People tend to think fresh produce is the “best” form. However, keep in mind that fresh produce often needs be used quickly and if not in season, can be expensive.  A more economical alternative is to buy frozen fruits and vegetables, which can cost less and is available year-round. If canned foods are on sale, they have a long shelf life and can be a good purchase. If opting to buy canned products, choose items without added sodium, low in fat, or 100% juice. If there is sodium in it, simply rinse off canned produce to reduce the sodium.  Surely every packaging has its pros and cons but by opening yourself up to fruits and vegetables in all their forms, in terms of prices, you’ll have more options to choose from.
  • Compare Prices – Use unit prices to find the best bang for your buck. The unit price shows ounce for ounce or pound by pound just how much you are paying for a particular item. For example, when comparing two bagged items of different sizes, it can help you identify just exactly which costs less.
  • Read Food Labels – Take a few seconds to check the serving size. If considering your family meals, this can be especially helpful in meal planning. Look at the calories, sodium and nutrients you will be getting from the product.
  • Read the Ingredients – Just because the bread is brown or says “multigrain” or even “100% wheat” doesn’t mean it is actually made with whole grain. Be a smart and saavy shopper and check for the first ingredient on the list. Some examples are: Whole wheat, bulgar, buckwheat, millet, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice
  • Organic vs. Non-Organic – Some items need not be purchased organic. If you wish to purchase organic, check out this Dirty Dozen list for a better understanding of what items are better off organic and which ones you can do without. If cost is a factor however, getting your fruits and vegetables should be at the top of the list, even if its not organic.
  • Cut coupons and checkout weekly specials

What's on our "Q"?

 The Skinny on Shakes for People With Diabetes

With so many meal replacements on the market, but how do you pick
which one is best? Taste shouldn’t be the only determining factor. It can
be important to consider the sugar, carbohydrate or even protein content.11 Nutritious, Kid-Friendly Finger Foods

Who doesn’t love meatballs? Check out this easy to follow recipe made
from lean turkey breast, which helps turn this usual calorie fest into something
a bit healthier. And while your at it, make sure to check out the Mango Tango Tortillas!

Jet-Set With Your Picnic Basket! Fun Theme Ideas for Lunch

Themed picnics are a great way to incorporate entertainment, flavor, and
even education into a family outing. Add a clever theme to your picnic by
incorporating foods from another city or, better yet, from around the world!

Also in “Q”: Remember to tune in for Restaurant Week 2012 recommendations, this Wednesday AM on CBS’s W1NY!!

 

Love Your Heart With Oats

Love Your Heart With Oats

The oats found in oatmeal are a rich source of beta-glucans which provide a source of dietary fiber to the body. The beta-glucans found in oats and other grains such as barley and rye contain soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and can also regulate blood glucose levels due to the way it is digested in the body. The insoluble fiber helps keep your bowel movements regular! Beta-glucans have also been claimed to boost immunity.

 

5 Tips for Getting the Grains:

Add oats to a cookie or muffin recipe.

Include barely in soups and stews.

Swap sprouted barely bread for other sandwich breads.

Hide oats in your turkey meatloaf.

Start your day with hot oat bran cereal and slivered almonds.

Recipes to Rave About:

American Heart Association’s Oat Recipes – http://bit.ly/y8KOq9

Heart Healthy Living has a list of 21 oat and oatmeal recipes so you can have a nutritious breakfast that never gets boring. (Oatmeal also makes a great snack!)

http://www.hearthealthyonline.com/cholesterol/lower-cholesterol/healthy-oatmeal-oat-recipes_ss1.html

Picture: <p><a href=”http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=901″>Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net</a></p>

Give thanks for a healthier Thanksgiving:

Are you counting down yet? In less than 22 days you will either be making or eating some yummy stuffing. Start planning now. Here are 3 recipes to make your Thanksgiving heart healthy. There is a recipe to meet everyone’s food preference –    the meat lover, the vegetarian and  of course the vegan. Use low fat, low salt broth in the following recipes to make them even healthier.

 

Low Fat Bread and Sausage Stuffing

Ingredients:

4 ounces chicken or turkey sausage, casings removed

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped mushrooms

1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound day-old artisan bread cubes

1 14 1/2–ounce can fat free, low sodium chicken broth

1 egg, lightly beaten, or 2 egg whites

 

Directions: Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook sausage meat until browned, breaking it into chunks with a spatula. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to skillet. Add onion, celery and mushrooms, and sauté until tender. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes with cooked sausage, vegetable mixture, herbs and pepper. Whisk together broth and egg, and pour over stuffing mixture. Toss well to coat. Spoon stuffing into 13-inch x 9-inch baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until browned.

Serves 12

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 134 Calories; 2.7g Fat; 0.6g Sat Fat; 21.8g Carbohydrates; 6.5g Protein; 1.6g Fiber; 23mg Cholesterol; 341mg Sodium

http://lowfatcooking.about.com/od/holidayrecipes/r/breadstuff1104.htm

 

 

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Stuffing

Ingredients:

8 slices whole wheat bread

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 cup chopped onion

1 1/2 cup chopped celery

¼ cup granny smith apples (finely chopped with skin on)

1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 tablespoon fresh sage

2 tablespoons light butter

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions: Start by drying out your bread. You can either do this by toasting in the oven, or by leaving the bread sit out at room temperature overnight. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium pot, combine chicken broth, onions, celery, apples, butter, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme and sage. Cook for about 15 minutes over medium heat. Meanwhile, break up your bread into small ½” pieces by chopping or just breaking apart with your hands. Put bread into a large oven safe dish. When broth mixture is ready, slowly pour onto bread, making sure to cover all the pieces. Next, mix in the egg substitute and make sure to cover all pieces. If bread cubes do not seem wet enough (they should be moist, but not saturated), add a tablespoon or two of warm water until appropriate texture is reached. Season with more salt and pepper if desired. Cover dish with foil and transfer to over. Cook for about 25 minutes. Then, take out stuffing, mix it around and fluff it a bit and put back in the oven, uncovered for about another 15 minutes.

Serves 4
Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 229 Calories; 5.1g Fat; 2.4g Sat Fat; 32.5g Carbohydrates; 13.8g Protein; 5.7g Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 637mg Sodium

http://www.laaloosh.com/2009/11/20/low-calorie-thanksgiving-stuffing-recipe/#ixzz1csvpvywI

 

 

 

Brown-Rice and Cranberry Stuffing

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon olive oil

3 medium carrots cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 medium fennel bulbs, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cup long-grain brown rice

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) chicken broth

4 cup dried cranberries

1 3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

 

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add carrots, fennel, celery, and onion, and cook 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in rice, chicken broth, cranberries, salt, thyme, pepper, and 4 1/4 cups water. Cover and heat to boiling. Pour rice mixture into 13- by 9-inch glass baking dish; cover with foil and bake 1 hour 15 minutes or until liquid evaporates and rice is tender

Serves 6

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 135 Calories; 2g Fat; 0g Sat Fat; 28g Carbohydrates; 3g Protein; 2g Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 265mg Sodium

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipefinder/brown-rice-and-cranberry-stuffing-2947

Pumpkinlicious

Tis the the season of pumpkin. Pumpkin is delicious and a great source of Beta Carotene and Vitamin C. So go ahead and try these pumpkinlicious recipes.

 

Pumpkin Hummus

 

Ingredients

1 15-ounce canned pumpkin

2 tablespoons tahini

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Directions

In a food processor, combine ingredients until smooth and creamy. If hummus is too thick, you can add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency.

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 102 Calories; 5.5 g Fat; 0.9g Sat Fat; 13.1g Carbohydrates; 2.8g Protein; 4.4g Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 306mg Sodium

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Ravioli

 

Ingredients

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

24 wonton wrappers

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Chopped parsley

 

Directions

Combine 1 cup pumpkin, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl. Spoon about 2 teaspoons pumpkin mixture into center of each wonton wrapper. Moisten edges of dough with water and bring the 2 opposite sides together to form a triangle, pinching edges to seal. Place ravioli into a large saucepan of boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 7 minutes. Drain in a colander. Place 1/2 cup broth and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter in pan and bring to a boil. Add ravioli, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 162 Calories; 5 g Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 22g Carbohydrates; 6g Protein; 2g Fiber; 17mg Cholesterol; 505mg Sodium

 

 

 

Pumpkin Enchiladas

 

Ingredients:

3/4 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 10-ounce can of red enchilada sauce

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

1cup black or kidney beans

Large bunch of cilantro, chopped

1 1/2 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 cup shredded cheese

5 ounces 0% greek yogurt

5 6” whole wheat tortillas

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sauté onion and garlic in a pan sprayed with cooking spray. Stir in enchilada sauce. Add pumpkin and stir until combined. Add cilantro, cumin and chili powder.  Spread a light layer of sauce on the bottom of an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Fill tortillas with an even amount of sauce and beans. Roll tortillas and place in the pan with the folded edges facing down to keep them closed. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 235 Calories; 7 g Fat; 2.52g Sat Fat; 33.6g Carbohydrates; 12g Protein; 7.9g Fiber; 11.9mg Cholesterol; 604mg Sodium

 

Need a new and healthy chicken recipe?

Chicken Marsala: THE MODERATE MAMA WAY

Ingredients:

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

4-6 thin organic, thin, chicken cutlets

1 tbspn olive oil

1/2 cup dry Marsala wine or Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Vinegar

1/2 cup low fat, no added salt chicken broth

1/2 lemon, juice

2 cups sliced mushrooms (can use different varieties)

MAKING THE MAGIC:

1. In a Ziploc bag, shake the pepper, salt and whole wheat flour together. Then add the chicken cutlets and shake until they are evenly coated.

2. Heat the olive in a non stick sauté pan (I love Caphlon). Brown the chicken cutlets on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. Add wine, lemon juice, and chicken broth to the sauté pan. Stir until heated and then add the mushrooms. Simmer about eight minutes.

4. Add the browned chicken back to the skillet and simmer in the sauce for the next 5- 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Idea: serve over steamed spinach with quinoa for a side.