April is National Soyfoods Month, the ideal time for getting acquainted with foods such as TSP (texturized soy protein) and tofu. If you’re already enjoying soyfoods like edamame, soymilk, soy nuts and soy yogurt on a regular basis, you’ll be delighted to learn that soyfoods offer a host of health and nutrition benefits.
Mark Messina, PhD., leading soy expert and executive director of the Soy Nutrition Institute, says, “Soyfoods provide ample amounts of protein and are low in saturated fat. There is also research indicating that soyfoods provide health benefits independent of their nutrient content. For example, there is evidence suggesting that soy may reduce the risk of prostate cancer and is protective against breast cancer if consumed during childhood and/or adolescence.”
The Soyfoods Council offers free resource material, including the brochure Good News About Good Eating: Simple tips for including soy in your everyday meals. You don’t have to change the way you cook or eat to boost the flavor, improve the texture and alter the nutrition profile of your favorite recipes. Soyfoods also provide an economical source of protein to your weekly menu. Each serving offers approximately 7 to 15 grams of high-protein, or as much as 12 to 25 percent of daily protein requirements for the average adult.
Tofu and TSP are two ways you can easily add soy to your recipes. The following definitions and tips will give you an idea of how easy it is.
TSP (texturized soy protein) is also called TVP™ (textured vegetable protein). Because of its mild flavor and the fact that it takes on the flavors of other ingredients, TSP is as versatile as it is convenient. It’s a dried soy protein product, made from soy flour and formed into small pieces that resemble browned ground beef and can be stored on a cupboard shelf. TSP is high in protein, has no fat, no cholesterol and no sodium. It provides iron and calcium
TSP Tip: Dry TSP almost doubles when you rehydrate it to use in recipes. That means one cup of dry granules yields of 2 cups of ready-to-go protein after it has been rehydrated. Add it to chili, soups, stews and spaghetti sauce. The Soyfoods Council offers recipes for Sweet and Sour Chicken and TSP Meatballs, Shepherd’s Pie, Three-Bean Chili and Taco Burgers.
Tofu comes in a variety of styles and types. Simply put, it’s a “cheese” made from soymilk, and has less than 5 grams of fat per serving (less than 1 of those grams is saturated fat), no cholesterol, and practically no sodium. Tofu types include water-packed tofu sealed in a plastic container, and silken tofu that comes in a box.
Water-packed tofu is dense and solid, and comes in soft, firm and extra-firm textures. You can marinate the slices or cubes, then heat them in a skillet and serve them as you would meat or chicken, or add them to pasta dishes and salads.
Silken tofu is available in a 12-oz. box, and has a custard-like texture. It comes in soft, firm and extra-firm textures. Silken tofu is ideal for pureeing and blending. It is a good choice for dips, dressings, smoothies, and desserts.
Tofu Tip: Freeze water-packed tofu by draining it well and freezing it in a zip-top plastic bag. Freezing drives liquid out of the tofu—when thawed, it’s denser and easy to handle for stir-frying or grilling. Recipe ideas from the Soyfoods Council featuring water-packed tofu include Tofu and Dressing, Tofu and Dumplings, Southwest Tofu Pasta and BBQ Tofu Calzones.
For recipes, resources, or a free copy of Good News About Good Eating, visit the Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com.
About the Soyfoods Council: The Soyfoods Council is a non-profit organization, created and funded by Iowa soybean farmers, providing a complete resource to increase awareness of soyfoods, educate and inform media, healthcare professionals, consumers and the retail and foodservice market about the many benefits of soyfoods. Iowa is the country’s number one grower of soybeans and is the Soyfoods Capital of the world.
About the Role of Soyfoods in a Healthful Diet: Soyfoods have played an important role in Asian cuisines for centuries. In recent years they have become popular in Western countries because of their nutrition and health properties. Soyfoods are excellent sources of high-quality protein and provide a healthy mix of polyunsaturated fat. In addition, independent of their nutrient content, there is very intriguing evidence indicating soyfoods reduce risk of several chronic diseases including coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. All individuals are well advised to eat a couple of servings of soyfoods every day.[print_link]