Soy-based foods are often neglected in the North American diet, but they shouldn’t be! Soy is a heart friendly food because it can help to lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. On top of that, eating soy foods is a great way to build bone health and has been show to help prevent cancer, particularly prostate cancer. With so many great nutritional features, there is no reason to keep soy off the dinner table.
Adding More Soy to Your Diet
Health experts recommend a diet with 25 grams of daily soy protein intake to reap the health benefits (one glass of soymilk contains ~ 8 g). Here are 10 ways you can include more soy in your diet:
- Edamame: You can find edamame beans in the frozen foods aisle. Simply pour some edamame into a bowl with water and microwave until hot. Drain the water and sprinkle the edamame with salt for a quick, healthy snack.
- Soy nut butter: Found right next to the other nut butters, this tasty spread is great on toast and makes for a change at breakfast.
- Soy milk: Fat-free, regular, vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate – there are so many varieties of soy milk to try! Use soy milk with cereal, in baking, and to make pancakes. Or simply drink as a healthy snack or beverage.
- Soy nuts: Look for soy nuts where other nuts are sold, or in the Asian cuisine section of the grocery store. Use them when baking cookies, bars, and loafs – or as a healthy addition to mixed nuts.
- Soy cheese: You can find soy cheese in either the dairy aisle or the vegetable section (with the salad dressing) of the grocery store. Soy cheese can be cheddar or mozzarella flavored. Use soy cheese as a topping on salad, when making lasagna, or as part of a sandwich.
- Soy cereal: You won’t find soy cereal in the cereal aisle. Instead, look for it in the health foods section of the grocery store. Eat soy cereals as an alternative to high-calorie, high-sugar cereals.
- Soy ice cream: Soy ice cream comes in many delicious flavors including strawberry, butterscotch, and almond vanilla. Top soy ice cream with fruit to make a healthy dessert.
- Soft tofu: Because of its thick and creamy texture, soft tofu can be used in a many different ways. Salad dressings, sauces, deserts, and smoothies can all be made using soft tofu.
- Hard tofu: Because of its firmer consistency, hard tofu is used more often in dishes where it will retain its shape. Try adding hard tofu to stir fries, salads, soups, pasta, or any other dish where it will absorb the flavor of the other foods.
- Soy meats: Try soy burgers or soy veggie dogs as a healthy alternative the next time you barbeque. You can find soy burgers in the frozen food section, and soy veggie dogs with the meat hot dogs. The burgers come in both beef and chicken flavors, while the veggie dogs can be regular or spicy Italian style.
The Bottom Line
Soy foods are a great substitute for high-fat and high-calorie meats and dairy. With so many varieties available in your grocery store, you will always find the soy products you like. Always check the labels on foods and beverages to see if they contain soy. If the ingredient list includes soy protein or soybeans, you have found what you are looking for.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.