4 of the best meat-free alternatives that you need to know about

There's a common misconception that choosing to eat meat-free alternatives is somehow more restrictive than a ‘regular’ diet. But choosing to go meat-free is actually a really great chance to expand your culinary horizons, and meat-free alternatives offer an amazing range of nutrition. If you think about it, vegetarians and vegans in general eat a way more varied diet than someone who has never had to find a meat-free alternative to what they’ve eaten since they were a kid.

Choosing to eat meat-free alternatives doesn't necessarily mean giving up the meals you love. Whether you've recently changed your diet to plant-based or are just starting to think about making the change, you'll be pleased to know that there are tons of simple swaps and little tricks that will help you recreate the dishes you love without compromising your lifestyle choice.

Here are some really handy meat-free alternatives that anyone eating less meat should know about:

Lentils as mincemeat
Don’t knock us till you've tried it! Adding green lentils to a shepherd's pie or meat-free chilli adds a level of texture that will trick your mouth into thinking you’ve got real mince in there! In terms of taste, you’ll have to work out the right mix of spices to make it super delicious, as lentils won't add much in the way of flavour- However, they do add a ton of protein (12grams per ½ cup to be precise), which is a very important element when you’re not eating meat.

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Jackfruit as pulled pork
If you’ve got a pulled pork craving, jackfruit is the perfect meat-free alternative. Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that mimics the texture of pulled pork. With a little clever seasoning, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference.

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Beans as burgers
Any self respecting vegetarian knows that beans are an important source of protein. There are plenty of ways to get your daily intake of proteinous beans but burgers have got to be one of the most delicious! Black beans and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) are the easiest type of bean to mash down and create a flavourful and protein-packed meat-free alternative to beef burgers.

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Meat-free Alternatives
The rise of the meat-free diet in recent years has meant there are more meat-free alternative options on the market than ever before, including a variety of high-quality, nutritious meat substitutes and vegan products. A 2021 study conducted by Toluna, a consumer intelligence platform, suggests that 80% of Australians are actively trying to reduce their meat intake, with only one in five people in Australia eating meat on a daily basis.. It is maybe because of this huge social change we are seeing, that meat free alternatives have seen such exponential growth over the past few years.

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Chicken: A Soy-based meat-free chicken alternative is the most realistic and nutritious type of meat-free chicken on the market right now. It tears like chicken, has a similar texture to chicken and can be made to taste just like the real thing. It’s a great contribution to vegan dishes and a meat-free alternative to some of your favourite dishes.

Bacon: Some meat-free alternatives to bacon are better than others. At NEXT! We have worked super hard to create a soy-based bacon alternative that is as close to the real thing as possible. It sizzles like bacon, tastes like bacon, crunches like bacon and is a clean alternative to over-processed, high-cholesterol, high saturates ‘real’ bacon.

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