Each March, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month. One of the 2018 objectives is to encourage consumers to make more informed food choices. The Soyfoods Council invites consumers to explore the following good reasons for including soyfoods among the ingredients they choose to eat and keep in their pantry or refrigerator.
Make More Informed Choices
Soyfoods make sense as part of a healthful diet, with a variety of affordable choices and versatile ingredients.
- Did you know that among nondairy milks, soymilk is the only one mentioned specifically in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as being comparable to dairy milk? According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “Soy beverages fortified with calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin D, are included as part of the dairy group because they are similar to milk, based on nutrient composition and in their use in meals.”
- Did you know that soy is a complete protein offering all eight of the essential amino acids needed for healthy growth? One serving of soyfoods—1 cup of soymilk, ½ cup tofu, ½ cup shelled edamame or ¼ cup of soynuts—offers approximately 7 to 15 grams of high-quality protein without the large amount of saturated fat that typically comes with animal sources of protein.
- Did you know that soybean oil may contribute to heart health? Choosing healthy fats is one way to establish a more healthful eating pattern. Although a number of oils are high in polyunsaturated fat—soybean oil, corn oil and safflower oil among them—only soybean oil provides both types of essential polyunsaturated fats, including omega-6, polyunsaturated fat linoleic acid, and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat, alpha-linolenic acid.
Keep Soyfoods on Hand in the Pantry and the Refrigerator
The following soyfoods offer convenient ways to create quick, nutritious snacks and meals.
- Soymilk is available in shelf-stable aseptic cartons that do not need to be refrigerated until they’re opened. Options include plain soymilk, vanilla soymilk and chocolate soymilk in light or original versions. All are lactose-free, dairy free, cholesterol free and low in saturated fat, offering approximately 6 grams of soy protein per serving.
- TSP (Textured Soy Protein, also known as TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein) is a pantry item that can be used as a topping for fruit cobblers, an add-in for oatmeal, soups or stews, and an extender for ground meats. It adds texture, and takes on flavor, making it a versatile ingredient.
- Soybean oil, with its neutral flavor and high smoke point, is an affordable, multi-purpose cooking oil to keep on hand. Use it for sautéing, in salad dressings and for baking, too.
- Soy nuts and dry roasted edamame are ideal for snacks, for adding to salads, or for creating your own snack mixes with raisins and dried cranberries. Soynut butter can be used in sandwiches, cookie recipes and as a snack with raw fruit slices.
- Canned soybeans are ideal for chili and other bean-based recipes. For example, the Soyfoods Council offers recipes such as Black and Tan Chili, incorporating one can each of tan soybeans and black soybeans. Other ingredients in the chili recipe include green pepper, onion, garlic, diced jalapenos, canned diced tomatoes, vegetable juice, chili powder and ground cumin.
- Water-packed and silken tofu varieties can be used in recipes ranging from stir-fries to smoothies, from dressings and sauces to desserts. Keep tofu on hand in your refrigerator to make fruit shakes, dips and quick desserts.
Explore Soy Protein for Your Favorite Recipes
- When you add TSP (Textured Soy Protein) to ground beef, you not only extend your food dollar, you also acquire the health benefits of soy protein. TSP is high in protein, has no fat, no cholesterol and no sodium. It provides iron and calcium, too. Replace a portion of the ground meat in recipes (25% to 50%) with hydrated TSP to get all the flavor of beef. Textured Soy Protein stretches ground beef for hamburger patties, tacos and sloppy joes. Also, use it in your spaghetti sauce and chili recipes. Make Taco Burgers with beef broth, TSP, canned black soybeans, chopped onion, seasoning mix, eggs, cornmeal, flour and soybean oil.
- Make appetizers that offer soy protein, such as Black Soybean Dip. In a blender, mix canned black soybeans, canned tan soybeans, and soybean oil. Flavor the dip with minced garlic, chopped onion, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and ground cumin. Serve with tortilla chips or raw vegetables.
- Add pureed soft silken tofu and soymilk to mashed potatoes for Tofu Mashed Potatoes that reduce the cholesterol and increase the protein. Also, add a little plant protein to dips, such as Sundried Tomato Tofu Dip. In a blender or food processor, process soft tofu until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine the tofu with a package of cream cheese and a package of Ranch seasoning dressing mix, chopped and drained marinated sundried tomatoes, minced onion and garlic powder. Once the ingredients are incorporated, chill for one hour. Serve with raw vegetables.
- Make you own tofu-based salad dressings, such as Sesame Ginger Tofu Dressing. Simply mix together rice wine vinegar and white vinegar with sugar for about 10 to 15 seconds. Then, add the vinegar mixture to a blender with soft silken tofu, ground ginger, ground mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and black pepper. Gradually add soybean oil to emulsify. Serve over a salad of kale, candied walnuts, sweet potatoes and bacon.
For nutrition information and recipes featuring soyfoods, visit The Soyfoods Council website at www.thesoyfoodscouncil.com. You’ll also find tips for cooking with soyfoods, and recent studies about soyfoods and health.
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.