By Ally Bourelly

“If you are vegan/vegetarian, then what do you eat?” This is a question most vegans/vegetarians can relate to. The truth is, just because I cut out a few animal products from my diet does not mean I still can’t eat like everyone else. 

I still binge on most of the foods I used to eat before I decided to switch to a vegetarian diet — I love pasta, smoothies, french fries, and pizza. But I’ll admit there are times when I get jealous of my friends’ consumption of meat. After a long night out, for example, they often order chicken nuggets and Quarter Pounders, and I’m stuck in the corner eating french fries. 

As I’ve continued my vegetarian diet, I have found so many delicious animal product alternatives that not only taste like the real thing, but make me feel good about my choice to maintain my vegetarian diet. 

1. Chickenless Crispy Tenders (Trader Joe’s)

These vegan chicken tenders are the best. I’ve made almost all my friends try them without telling them they’re vegan, and they are genuinely surprised. These nuggets taste and feel just like regular chicken tenders and have been my newest obsession for the past couple of weeks 

2. Beyond Meat (King Soopers)

I have been an outspoken dissenter of alternative ground beef because it never tastes even remotely close to the real thing. Beyond Meat, however, tastes just like real ground beef. It bleeds and cooks just like real beef, and you can shape it into any form you want since it sticks together just like ground beef. You can make hamburgers, meat sauce, tacos, and more with Beyond Meat.  

3. Cauliflower Tempura (Trader Joe’s) 

This stuff is so delicious, especially if you pan fry it. I don’t care for cauliflower in any aspect, but something about it being deep fried and saucy makes it taste so good. The sauce Trader Joe’s provides with it is also tasty. And it’s super easy to make.

4. 365 Plant-Based Cheddar Cheese (Whole Foods) 

Similar to my stance on ground beef alternatives, I was vehemently opposed to eating cheese alternatives before I found 365 Plant-Based Cheddar Cheese. Most cheese alternatives taste synthetic, in my opinion. 356 Plant-based Cheddar Cheese, however, is different. It tastes and feels exactly like cheddar cheese.

5. 365 Almond Milk Ice Cream (King Soopers and Whole Foods) 

One day last block I decided to try vegan ice cream, and now I’m hooked. It looks and feels just like normal ice cream. My personal favorite flavor is Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Swirl. Try it — I promise you won’t regret it. 

Try these alternatives both to improve your health and make a statement against animal agriculture. Animal agriculture is one of the major causes of global warming because of deforestation for beef cultivation and CO2 and methane emissions. To put it in perspective, eating half a pound of beef is like driving 9.81 miles in your car.

I didn’t write this article to guilt you into switching your lifestyle. I wrote it because I truly believe that there are some alternative animal products out there that are just as good as the real thing. I urge you to try my five favorite alternatives if you are looking for a way to be kind to our earth and to our animals.   

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