Soy products, commonly derived from the soybean plant (Glycine max), have become a staple food item in many healthy diets. Foods derived from soy come in a variety of forms, including tempeh, edamame, soybean, and soy milk. Although research on whether soy lowers your cholesterol levels is inconclusive, the fact that it's high in protein and fiber, and low in saturated fat, qualifies soy as a healthy substitute for meat in a cholesterol-lowering diet. Although preparing soy products is a little bit different than cooking with meat, you can still prepare tasty dishes without greatly increasing your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. These healthy tips will help you to make a wide range of mouth-watering – and cholesterol friendly – meals with soy products.
Use Soy in Your Main Dish
Soy can be cooked to perfection and used as a substitute for red meat and poultry products, such as chicken or turkey. Many of these soy-based meat substitutes are commercially available at the grocery store, and in some cases, are available already ground or chopped. When preparing soy products, you should always follow the directions on the package label.
There are many meals you can make with soy products, and there are a few recipes listed below that are good examples of cholesterol-friendly – and tasty – main dishes. These recipes can also be modified to your taste. While you can never go wrong with adding more vegetables to your dish or experimenting with spices, you should limit the addition of butter, cheese, or cream, as this could introduce extra fat into your diet. Any of these dishes would go great with a light salad, steamed veggies, or favorite whole grain as a side dish.
Use Soy Products in Soups and Stews
The next time you are looking to change up your stew or soup, use soy protein as a substitute for ground beef or chicken pieces. Soy can turn a dull soup into a hearty, filling meal or side dish that won’t significantly increase your lipid levels – or your waistline. Soups are also easy to prepare, as you can add anything you have available in your kitchen and let the soup simmer for a couple of hours. Although soybean-based soups contain less fat, the ingredients you add to them could add additional fat and calories to them. Therefore, while it is OK to modify these heart-healthy recipes below to include your favorite whole grains, herbs or vegetables, you should be careful about the amount of cheese, sour cream, or whole milk added to the soup. When in doubt about how much fat one of your favorite food products has, you should always consult the product’s nutrition label.
Use Soy Bean Products as a Side Dish
Soy protein is a versatile food, and can also be used in a wide variety of side dishes and appetizers. In lieu of turkey or shrimp, you can add a handful of thinly chopped tofu onto a bed of romaine lettuce and lemon juice to create a very quick – and heart-healthy – salad. You can also make more elaborate meals with soy, including healthy takes on traditional side dishes, such as pasta, chicken nuggets, or potato chips. No matter which side dish you select, substituting animal meat for soy protein in your side dishes will ensure a healthy addition to your low-cholesterol meal plan. These are just a few examples of the many ways you can use soy protein in your side dishes: