Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hamburger or Veggie Burger?

The weather is heating up, pools are opening, the smoky smell of the grill wafts in the air; all sure signs that summer is fast approaching.  For most Americans, grilling is the preferred method of cooking when the weather is warm.   Almost everyone believes nothing can compete with that beautiful char that is achieved on a grill.  Although it seems like there is a recipe for grilling just about anything, the good old-fashioned hamburger is a staple.  This year, will you, like many other Americans, choose to grill a plant-based burger? 

Within the past five years, overall meat consumption for the U.S. has been on a decline.  This is due to more Americans choosing to eat plant-based products over their meat counterparts.  In fact, the percentage of Americans consuming fully plant-based diets has more than doubled in three years!  Not only that, but the average American eats 20 pounds less meat per year compared to a decade ago.

The plant-based meat alternative industry is growing each year, with a recent annual revenue close to $500 million.  Many restaurants are now catching on to the plant-based trend and are adding meatless burgers to their menus.  Since 2008, the sightings of plant-based burgers on restaurant menus are up 17 percent!  Grocery stores have also branched out and stocked their shelves to plant-based meat alternatives that actually taste good. 

Americans are choosing plant-based versions of their favorite meals for various reasons including health, taste, and ethical and environmental concerns.  On the health front, consuming just one hamburger a day can raise the risk of type 2 diabetes by 41 percent and the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.  Cutting out animal products also ensures that you will not be consuming any cholesterol.  Veggie burgers are chock full of healthy veggies, beans, grains, nuts and seeds, all of which contain protein, fiber, and antioxidants.  So fire up your grill in preparation for a healthy and veggie filled summer!

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