With the Lenten season kicking off today on Ash Wednesday, the day marks the end of weeks of partying, parading and overindulging from the Mardi Gras season for many Louisiana residents. Not only does it mean tucking away parade ladders and feather boas until the next Carnival season, but for some, it can also mean removing meat from one’s menu on Fridays during Lent.
One popular substitute for meat to help combat the urge is veggie burgers, however, some can be loaded with far more carbs and sodium than a regular burger, and some with not much protein at all! So if you’re looking for healthy options to add some variety to your Friday lunch or dinner, check out some of our best and worst picks for veggie burgers below.
Since veggie burgers are meat substitutes, look for those with a protein content similar to that of meat. Most people don’t need a low-protein, carb filled patty on a carb-rich bun! And getting enough protein helps to keep you feeling fuller, longer, plus helps to build and maintain muscle mass.
A general guide:
- 20 grams protein = protein equivalent of about three ounces of lean meat
- 14 grams protein = protein equivalent of two eggs
LOVE IT! (Both options below contain two to three times as much protein as carbs.)
Morningstar Farms Grillers Original
- 130 calories, 15 protein, 5 grams carbs (2 grams fiber)
Boca All American Glassic Made with Non-GMO soy OR Boca Original Vegan
- 70-90 calories, 15 grams of protein, 6 grams carbs (4-6 grams fiber)
These are less than twice as much protein as carbohydrates, but have good fiber content and are low in sat fat. It’s definitely not a bad ratio – just not as protein-rich as the ‘Love it!’ option.
Morningstar Farms Grillers Vegan
- 100 calories, 12 grams protein, 7 grams carbs (4 grams fiber)
Boca All American Classic
- 140 calories, 15 grams protein, 9 grams carbs (4 grams fiber)
Each option below has three times as much carbs as protein. None are ‘bad’ options; they’re made primarily with veggies and whole grains, but don’t provide the protein that many need and are looking for from meat replacements.
Amy’s Bistro Burger
- 110 calories, 5 grams protein, 15 grams carbs (2 g fiber)
Dr. Praeger’s California Veggie Burger
- 110 calories, 5 grams protein, 13 grams carbs (4 g fiber)
Gardenburger Original Veggie Burger
- 100 calories, 5 grams protein, 18 grams carbs (5 g fiber)
For more details on this topic, read Molly’s full “Love it, Like it, Hate it” article on WGNO New Orleans.