5 Vegetarian Foods That Aren't Actually All That Healthy

© John Kernick
By Emily Tylman Posted January 09, 2015

With resolution season in full swing, you may be thinking about eating less meat. But just because something is vegetarian doesn't mean it's healthy. Here are five foods you'd be smart to avoid or eat in moderation.

With resolution season in full swing, you may be thinking about eating less meat or removing it completely from your diet. But just because something is vegetarian doesn't mean it's healthy. Here are five foods you'd be smart to avoid (or eat in moderation).

1. Tofu. Soybeans are generally healthy, but tofu can be heavily processed and hard for your stomach to digest. For a meat substitute that's easier on the body, try this tempeh recipe.

2. Processed cheese. Though it's a good source of protein for non-meat eaters, even high-quality cheese is high in saturated fat and junkier options may contain artificial ingredients. Opt for less-processed cheeses, like Andrew Zimmern’s homemade ricotta.

3. White pasta, white bread and white rice. These foods have have little to no nutritional value. When a recipe calls for them, use their whole-grain alternatives instead, like in this whole-wheat spaghetti recipe or this brown rice bowl from Gail Simmons.

4. Veggie burgers and hot dogs. It's wishful thinking to believe these are made from vegetables. Most contain processed soy, artificial flavors and sugar. You'll do better to make your own versions at home. Try Jimmy Bannos, Jr.’s recipe for awesome meatless patties made from quinoa, chickpeas and vegetables.

5. Coconut oil, milk and yogurt. Coconut products are everywhere these days, and it’s hard to deny their nutritional plusses (low in carbs, dense in nutrients and fiber). But don’t forget that coconut is very high in saturated fat, so moderation is key, like in this salad with a warm coconut dressing.

Related: Vegetarian Recipes 
Healthy Sandwiches 
Whole Grain Breakfasts 

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