The Gluten-Free Guide to Plant-Based “Meat” Alternatives

Plant-based “meat” options have risen in popularity, providing an alternative for those seeking a more sustainable and healthier diet. But are these products gluten free? In this article, we’ll explore the gluten-free landscape of popular brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers, as well as highlight other gluten-free meat substitutes.

The Rise of Plant-Based “Meats”

With 17 percent of U.S. consumers adopting a mostly plant-based diet and 60 percent reducing their meat intake, the demand for plant-based products is soaring (Forbes). This trend reflects a growing awareness of the environmental impact and health considerations associated with traditional meat consumption.

However, one potential pitfall for those on a gluten-free diet is that many alternative meat products contain gluten. Wheat gluten is often used in plant-based proteins to mimic the texture of meat. This poses a challenge for individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

Decoding Impossible Burgers and Beyond Meat

Are Impossible Burgers Gluten Free?

Originally, Impossible Burgers contained wheat protein (gluten). However, the company reformulated its product and now offers gluten-free versions made with soy protein. If you’re dining out, you can find gluten-free Impossible Burgers at various eateries like Red Robin, CB Potts, and Hard Rock Cafe. You can also purchase gluten-free Impossible Burger patties at Trader Joe’s.

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Are Impossible Chicken Nuggets Gluten Free?

Unfortunately, Impossible Chicken Nuggets are NOT gluten free. Despite gaining the trust of the gluten-free community through their gluten-free Impossible Burgers, the inclusion of wheat flour and wheat gluten in their chicken products has caused confusion and disappointment. It’s best to avoid Impossible Chicken Nuggets if you’re gluten sensitive or have celiac disease.

Is Beyond Meat Gluten Free?

If you’re looking for gluten-free options, Beyond Meat is a safe bet. Beyond Meat products, such as their burger patties and sausages, are made with gluten-free pea protein and beet juice extract. These products are not only gluten free but are also Non-GMO Project Verified and soy free. Beyond Meat offers a variety of plant-based products that can be found at grocery stores worldwide and at popular restaurant chains.

Are Beyond Chicken Nuggets Gluten Free?

While Beyond Meat offers gluten-free options for most of their products, Beyond Chicken Nuggets are NOT gluten free. These nuggets contain wheat flour and vital wheat gluten, making them off-limits for those on a gluten-free diet.

Other Gluten-Free Meat Substitutes

If you’re looking for more gluten-free alternatives, there are several brands to explore:

  • CHKN Not Chicken: CHKN Not Chicken offers a gluten-free “chicken” alternative made with plant-based ingredients.
  • Dr. Praeger’s: Dr. Praeger’s offers soy- and gluten-free meat alternatives made from sweet potato, butternut squash, beet, and carrot.
  • Hilary’s: Hilary’s produces a range of veggie burgers that are free from wheat, gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, and nuts.
  • Atlantic Natural Foods: Atlantic Natural Foods encompasses various companies that provide plant-based alternatives such as franks, meat replacement mixes, and even plant-based tuna.
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Be Mindful of Labels and Brands to Avoid

While plant-based proteins are generally a great option, it’s important to read labels carefully as not all products are gluten free. Brands like Boca Burgers, Garden Burgers, MorningStar Farms, and Quorn typically contain gluten. Lightlife, which used to be gluten free, has unfortunately added wheat protein to some of its products.

It’s crucial to stay vigilant and check for the most up-to-date information on packaging before making a purchase. Remember, gluten can hide in unexpected places, even in plant-based products.

Embracing a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

While plant-based “meats” provide alternatives for those looking to reduce their meat consumption, it’s worth noting that these products are highly processed. For a truly natural and gluten-free option, consider incorporating foods like kale, carrots, and eggplant into your diet. A portobello mushroom burger can also be a delicious and healthy alternative.

In conclusion, as the popularity of plant-based “meats” continues to soar, individuals on a gluten-free diet can find suitable options. Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers offer gluten-free choices, but it’s important to be cautious and read labels to ensure gluten-free status. By staying informed, you can confidently navigate the world of plant-based meat substitutes without compromising your dietary needs.

Additional Resources

For more information on plant-based “meats” and gluten-free living, visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill.

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