Meat Substitute for Grilling: What to Look for When Shopping?

When it comes to grilling, consumers are increasingly turning to vegetarian or vegan sausages and burger patties instead of meat. But how healthy are meat substitute products? It’s worth taking a look at the list of ingredients.

While meat consumption is falling significantly, meat substitutes are becoming increasingly popular. In addition to the classic meat counter, many supermarkets and discounters now offer a wide range of different vegetarian or vegan sausages, burger patties, schnitzel, and fillets that are suitable for grilling. However, the finished products are highly processed foods. A product test by the consumer advice center from 2020 showed that the ingredients and flavors used in the products are very different and diverse. Products made from lupins are generally recommended.

List of ingredients: Which ingredients and additives are unhealthy?

A look at the list of ingredients gives consumers information about the ingredients used when shopping, which often include stabilizers, thickeners, and coloring agents. According to the consumer advice center, finished products with preservatives such as sodium metabisulphite, recognizable as E 223, or konjac, which is marked as E 425 on the packaging, are particularly questionable. For a more intense taste, the veggie grilled food is often made with a lot of salt. When shopping, the health value is not recognizable by the price but only by the ingredients. If the list of ingredients is very long, consumers should rather not buy the product.

Check calories and Nutri-Score on packaging

Vegetarian and vegan meat substitute products often contain a lot of fat and sugar. Therefore, consumers should also check the packaging to see how many calories are consumed per 100 grams. Within a product group, the energy content can also be quickly surveyed when shopping using the so-called Nutri-Score. According to the consumer advice center, it should be between category A and maximum category C. However, the Nutri-Score label is not mandatory for manufacturers, but voluntary, so that not all products in the refrigerated section can always be compared with each other.

Make your own tofu skewers: an alternative to ready-made products

For carefree enjoyment, hobby cooks should prepare meatless grilled food themselves, advises the consumer advice center. Tofu is a particularly good base. Depending on your individual taste, you can put it in a seasoning marinade before grilling, cut it into pieces, and put it on skewers together with mushrooms and other vegetables. The grilled cheese halloumi can also be used to make skewers.

Reusable stainless steel grill pans are ideal for cooking skewers. Disposable grill trays, on the other hand, have no place on the grate, not only for environmental reasons: If salt or acid is used – for example in a marinade – the aluminum dissolves and puts a strain on the food to be grilled.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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