5 Mistakes When Going Meatless


By Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD, Registered Dietitian, WebMD

October 08, 2020


While the number of Americans who have completely cut meat from their diet is still pretty low, a lot of people (myself included!) are making an effort to eat plant-based protein in place of at least some of the meat in their diet.


Eating more plants is a great move for your health and the environment. But simply eating less meat doesn’t guarantee health benefits, says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RDN, author of The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease, and Add Years to Your Life. She cautions against these common mistakes people make when going meatless:


Mistake #1. Not replacing meat with other protein sources.


When you take something out of your diet, you take out the nutrients that food provided. Meat is a rich source of protein but also nutrients like iron and B vitamins. Blatner recommends including protein sources like beans and lentils, soy foods, nuts and nut butters, seeds and seed butters, and whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and sprouted grain breads.


Mistake #2. Too many processed faux meats.


There are more choices than ever for plant-based burgers, sausage, and ground “meat,” and they seem like a no-brainer good choice. But faux meats also tend to be heavily processed, says Blatner, who adds, “more heavily processed foods like faux meats also contain ingredients that offer zero nutrition such as binders, preservatives, and coloring.” (Read more about this in my post: Are Meat Alternatives Really Healthier?)


Mistake #3. Too much cheese... 


Mistake #4. Too many “beige carbs”...


Mistake #5. Not enough vegetables...