The Joy of Soy: 5 Ways to Enjoy Soy
April is National Soyfoods Month. It’s a great time to add some soy to your diet several times a week or to try it for the first time. Here’s the scoop on its nutrition and health benefits, as well as simple ways you can sneak some soy into your routine.
Soybeans are part of the legume family and are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Soy is a good source of fiber, B vitamins, iron and calcium. It’s low in fat and cholesterol free.
Research shows that soy can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol and may reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. Consuming soy foods may also be associated with reduced risk of osteoporosis and certain types of cancer, notably breast cancer.
Here are five popular ways to enjoy soy:
Edamame (small green soybeans):
- Usually found in the frozen food aisle, but also ready-to-eat in the produce section.
- Try shelled or unshelled.
- Easy to prepare by boiling or steaming.
- Serve as an appetizer or snack in the pods and then remove the shells before eating.
- Add to salads.
- Prepare as a side dish. Toss with corn, tomatoes, red bell peppers, herbs and a little bit of oil.
- Nutrition facts: ½ cup shelled edamame (Seapoint Farms brand) has 100 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 30 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein.
Soy Nuts (also known as dry roasted edamame):
- Dried and roasted soybeans.
- Enjoy as a high fiber, high protein snack with less fat than other nuts.
- Various flavors include slightly salted, wasabi and Goji blend.
- Nutrition facts: ¼ cup (Seapoint Farms brand, wasabi flavor) has 130 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 130 mg sodium, 7 g fiber, 14 g protein.
- Plain tofu (firm, soft, lite or silken) can be used in stir fries, tossed into salads, made into vegetarian burgers, used in place of yogurt or sour cream in creamy dips, soups, sauces or desserts. A 4 oz. serving has 100 calories, 4.3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg sodium, 0.7 g fiber and 10 g protein.
- Baked tofu is an easy option because it comes pre-cooked and seasoned and in different flavors, such as Thai sesame peanut and Italian herb. Serve warm in pasta, soup or stir-fry or serve cold on sandwiches or salads. A 2 oz. serving (White Wave brand, Sesame Peanut Thai) has 90 calories, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 280 mg sodium, 1 g fiber and 9 g protein.
- A lactose-free vegetarian milk option.
- Plain or flavored (chocolate and vanilla); regular or lite.
- Drink it plain.
- Pour it over hot or cold cereal.
- Add to coffee as a low fat creamer.
- Use it to make cream sauces.
- Create your own protein shakes blending soymilk and fruit.
- Nutrition facts: 1 cup plain soymilk (Silk brand) has 90 calories, 3.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein.
- Use in baked goods to replace up to ¼ of the amount of flour (per 1 cup of flour: combine ¼ cup soy flour with ¾ cup all-purpose flour).
- Stir it into sauces and gravies to thicken them.
If you’re looking for more convenience, try some of these soy-based products:
- Energy bars made with soy
- Soy burger patties and other soy protein meat-alternatives
- Soy protein powder (added to smoothies or shakes)
- Soy yogurt and cheese
- Low fat soy frozen desserts
Happy Soyfoods Month!