During April, National Soyfoods Month, try incorporating this healthy option into one of your family's meals.
Over a third of Americans enjoy a dinner that includes soyfoods, that is, food made from soybeans. Soyfoods include products made from tofu-and edamame.
Tofu, or bean curd, is a soft cheese-like food made that is made by curdling soy milk with a coagulant*. The curds are pressed into rectangular or square blocks, similar to the way cheese is made with milk curds. Tofu is made in a variety of textures—soft, firm, and extra-firm—that have different purposes. Tofu has very little flavor on its own, so it can be used either in savory or sweet dishes, and it is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish.
Edamame is young soybeans, usually still in the pod. Because the beans are young and green when they are picked, edamame soybeans are soft and edible, not hard and dry like the mature soybeans which are used to make soy milk and tofu.
Some grocery stores sell green edamame that has been hulled (beans have been removed) resulting in just the beans. This hulled edamame is great for making salads or adding to rice dishes but also as a flavorful, nutritious snack on its own!
Soyfoods, like tofu and edemame are easy to digest, low in fat and sodium, and a good source of B vitamins and calcium plus and isoflavones.
Tofu is an exceptional food—not only because it is highly nutritious, but because it can be prepared in such a remarkably wide variety of ways. The uses for tofu are limited only by a chef’s imagination.
Soyfoods are easy to prepare and simple to incorporate into your favorite dishes. Here are some ways to increase soy in your diet:
Breakfast: Try soymilk on hot or cold cereal with some berries
Lunch: Try deli alternatives like soy “hot dogs” that taste great and offer all the benefits of soy.
Dinner: Meat alternatives are easy, try making tacos with soy crumbles in place of ground beef
Snack: Soyfood snacks like whole soy nutrition bars, soy yogurt and soy pudding
Any time snacks: trade the candy box for something healthier: soy nuts covered in milk chocolate or a vanilla yogurt-based coating.
Soynuts: offer a solid crunch, and are found flavored with seasonings of barbeque, teriyaki, onion, garlic or just plain.
Edamame - steamed young soybeans served in-the-pod can be a fun treat, hot or cold.
Soyfoods are a nutritious option for children and busy families. Plus they taste great!
Contributed by Leslie Kay-Getzinger, Nutrition Management
[Photo from Skinny Secrets]