At the start of the year, many of us make a resolution: what we hope to do more of, what we hope to do less of, what we want to change in the upcoming year. A frequent New Year’s resolution is to “be healthier” and one component of that is to eat more vegetables. Here’s a simple solution that’s doable this year: Try eating soy! Soy is a vegetable and yet is a great source of protein as well, making it a healthy choice
This year, as you shop the supermarket aisles, make soy a part of your cart. Soy foods can be a part of a heart-healthy, healthy weight eating plan – which is something most Americans need to strive for. Here are some top ways to incorporate more soy into your meals and a look at where to find them in the supermarket:
- Use tofu. Tofu is a soft, cheese-like food made by curdling fresh, hot soy milk. It’s bland flavor is a bonus because it absorbs flavors easily. There are different tofu textures, ranging from soft to extra-firm, each with their own special uses. Try firm tofu in stir-fry, or add it to soups and stews. Softer (like soft or silken) tofu lends itself well to dips and dressings. Find tofu in the produce aisle.
- Prepare tempeh. Tempeh is made of whole soybeans mixed with rice and fermented which then develop a smoky or nutty flavor. Tempeh is a great addition to chili and pasta sauce. It can also be marinated and grilled. Find tempeh in the Asian section of the supermarket.
- Try soy nut butter. Made from roasted, whole soy nuts, which are then crushed and blended with soy oil, soy nut butter can be used in place of peanut butter for a lower fat option. Find soy nut butter in the natural section of the supermarket.
- Drink soy milk. Soy milk is made from ground soybeans. Use it in smoothies or on your morning cereal. Find soy milk in the refrigerated section of the supermarket and find soy milk in shelf-stable packaging in the natural section of the supermarket.
- Eat edamame. Edamame is the term for young, green soybean. They are sweet tasting and delicious. Use edamame just like peas or lima beans in your favorite soups, stir-fries, salads or even steam it and eat it as a snack. Find edamame in the frozen section of the supermarket, either in the pod or pre-shelled.
- Munch on soy beans themselves. Roasted soy nuts are made from whole soybeans that have been soaked in water and then baked until browned. Try roasted soy nuts on their own or add them to salads. Find roasted soy nuts in the snack aisle or in the natural food aisle of your supermarket.
While this is a list of just six options, there are many more soy foods available in the supermarket. Here’s my challenge for you: I encourage you to try one new soy food this year!
Jen Haugen, RDN, LD is an award-winning dietitian and family nutrition consultant with extensive retail and clinical nutrition experience. Known as the Down-to-Earth Dietitian, Jen specializes in nourishing moms so they can better nourish their families through kitchen-counter cooking schools and modern-day victory gardens. She recently presented her first TEDx talk on “How Moms Can Change the World,” and even more recently transitioned from full-time retail dietitian to part-time school dietitian so she can more fully live her values by spending more time cooking and gardening with her family and working with food companies that value family too. Find her at www.jenhaugen.com and @jenhaugen.