19 Apr Soy Easy to Add to Your Meals
Adding soyfoods doesn’t require a diet makeover. Dr. Julie Garden-Robinson is professor and extension specialist in the health, nutrition and exercise science department at North Dakota State University. Garden-Robinson says there are numerous types of soyfoods available on store shelves for people to try.
“Soymilk, tofu, edamame, which are immature ‘green’ soybeans, soynuts and fermented foods such as tempeh are just a few of the wide range of soyfoods,” Dr. Garden-Robinson says. “Researchers have shown that eating more soy products may reduce our risk for certain types of cancer, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.”
Soy can be valuable to those who cannot consume meat, offering healthy options to meet protein requirements in their diets.
Dr. Garden-Robinson says soyfoods are rich in many nutrients, including protein, which makes them especially important for people focusing on plant-based diets. Soyfoods also provide fiber, calcium and iron. Because it is plant-based, soy contains no cholesterol and is low in saturated fat.
“In fact, some researchers have reported that consuming soyfoods may reduce blood cholesterol levels and potentially, blood pressure,” Dr. Garden-Robinson says.
Linda Funk, executive director of The Soyfoods Council, says it’s easy to include soyfoods, even for people who didn’t grow up eating soy. Even one to two servings of soy per day can deliver valuable health benefits.
“That can be as easy as eating one-quarter cup of soy nuts or drinking a cup of soymilk,” Funk says. “It’s incredibly easy to add, but you have to have the products on hand.”
Funk says soymilk in shelf-stable packaging can be kept in the pantry for extended periods of time, but must be refrigerated once they’ve been opened. Soy is also a main ingredient in many prepared products, including nutritional snack bars, zone bars, and even some cereals. The higher up on the nutritional label soy appears, the higher percentage of soy is in the product.
There are also whole products like soynuts, edamame, even canned soybeans that are readily available.
Many people enjoy fruit smoothies, and Garden-Robinson says soy can be included as an ingredient.
“Enjoying a smoothie made with strawberries, blueberries and soymilk for breakfast adds both fruit and protein to the diet,” Garden-Robinson says.
Many people also shortchange themselves on vegetables. Stir-frying firm tofu with broccoli, carrots, snow peas and other vegetables can help meet the daily recommendation of at least 2.5 cups of vegetables per day.
“The tofu takes on the flavor of the sauce used in the stir-fry,” Dr. Garden-Robinson adds. “You also might try the steamer bags with edamame for a fun snack or side dish that kids will enjoy. If you like tacos or spaghetti sauce, you can try the soy crumbles that are available.”
While anyone can benefit from adding soyfoods to their diet, Dr. Garden-Robinson says there are numerous population segments for whom soyfoods can be particularly helpful. Children who cannot consume dairy due to allergies or lactose intolerance benefit from the availability of soy-based formulas and baby foods.
“Soyfoods provide the protein, calcium and vitamins needed for adequate growth of children. Some research shows that early use of soy products may reduce risk of diseases later in life,” Dr. Garden-Robinson adds.
Dr. Garden-Robinson says there’s a growing interest in “flexitarian” and “vegetarian” diets, both of which focus on plant-based foods. Soy provides a variety of nutrients needed for a balanced diet for those who consume little if any animal products. But even the meat and potatoes crowd can incorporate soy without a major menu overhaul.
“You do not need to be a vegetarian or vegan to add soyfoods to your diet,” says Funk. “For an extra boost of protein, you can add soy to your favorite ground meat dishes, with textured vegetable protein (TVP) or textured soybean protein (TSP). Why not try it when the health benefits are so strong and well researched,” Funk asks.
Story and photos by North Dakota Soybean Council.
Edamame Dip with Pita Crisps
Yield: 8 servings
6 (6-inch) pitas, split in half horizontally, cut into triangles
1 tablespoon soybean oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ cups edamame
1 tablespoon soybean oil, divided
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup parsley leaves
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon soybean oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Arrange pita halves in a single layer on baking sheet. Add oil, garlic and salt, and toss well. Bake for 15 minutes or until crisp; cool completely on wire rack.
- Prepare edamame according to package instructions, omitting salt. Place 1 tablespoon oil, salt, cumin, and garlic in a food processor; pulse 2 to 3 times or until coarsely chopped. Add edamame, parsley, water, and lemon juice; process 1 minutes or until smooth. Spoon hummus into serving bowl. Yield: 8 servings.
Delicious Chili with Meat and Soybeans
2 large onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 each large green and red sweet peppers, chopped into small pieces
5 tablespoons chili powder (depends on how spicy you like)
2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons cumin
8 oz. ground hamburger
1 cup dry Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
2 cans (15 oz.) black soybeans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with chilies
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
8 cups low sodium tomato juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onion
In a large sauce pot, sauté́ onion, garlic and peppers until softened. Add chili powder, oregano and cumin; stir to blend. Add hamburger; stir until browned. Add TVP; stir until blended. Add beans, tomatoes and tomato juice; stir until blended. Bring to boiling, reduce heat; simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with favorite chili toppings.
YIELD: 12 to 16 servings
*Textured Vegetable Protein and Textured Soy Protein are one in the same. They are both trademarked names. So, if a recipe calls for one or the other, they are interchangeable.
Sweet and Sour Chicken and TVP Meatballs
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup TVP
1/3 cup chicken broth OR 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules OR 1/2 chicken bouillon cube
1 can (5-ounces) chicken
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 package (2-ounces) onion soup mix
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons catsup
1 tablespoon water
1 can (8-ounces) pineapple chunks in juice
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cups cooked rice (white or brown)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In medium mixing bowl, stir together TVP, chicken broth and canned chicken (and liquid from can), breaking chicken into small pieces. Let stand 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over chicken mixture and then using clean hands or a spoon, mix together the egg, milk, onion soup mix and Worcestershire sauce. Shape mixture into 12 (1-inch) balls. Arrange balls on bottom of oiled or sprayed 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Bake until lightly browned and firm to the touch, about 15 minutes.
While meatballs are baking, make the sauce. In saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together brown sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, catsup and water. Stir in pineapple chunks and juice. Blend. Stir in green pepper, if used. Heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve meatballs and sauce over cooked rice.