Nutritional comparison of Impossible and Beyond Burgers

I reviewed both Beyond and Impossible burgers back in 2019, shortly after their introduction to the marketplace. In the intervening 5 years, both brands have been refining their recipes, so I wanted to revisit this topic and tell you what’s changed. You can listen to my review here. Below, you’ll find a table comparing the two with lean ground beef.

NutritionImpossible BeefBeyond Beef80% lean beef90% lean beef
Calories (per 113g)230230287199
Total Fat13 g14 g23 g11 g
Saturated Fat6 g2 g9 g4g
Cholesterol0 mg0 mg80 mg73 mg
Sodium370 mg310 mg75 mg75 mg
Total Carbohydrate9 g8 g00
Dietary Fiber5 g2 g00
Protein19 g21 g19 g23 g
Iron4.2 mg4 mg2.4 mg2.5 mg
Potassium670 mg370 mg305 mg363 mg
Vitamin B123 mcg?2.4 mcg2.5 mcg
Zinc5 mg?5 mg5 mg
IngredientsWater, Soy Protein Concentrate, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% Or Less Of: Methylcellulose, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Yeast Extract, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant), L-tryptophan, Soy Protein Isolate,
Zinc Gluconate, Niacin, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12
Water, Pea Protein*, Avocado Oil, Natural Flavors, Rice Protein, Lentil Protein, 2% or less of Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Pea Starch, Potassium Lactate (to preserve freshness), Faba Bean Protein, Apple Extract, Pomegranate Concentrate, Potassium Salt, Spice, Vinegar, Vegetable Juice Color (with Beet).BeefBeef

Nutritional comparison of plant-based chicken

image of chickens in a grass yard
Photo by Thomas Iversen on Unsplash

In an recent episode of the Nutrition Diva podcast, I talked about the pros and cons of plant-based chicken.

As  a supplement to that episode, I’ve put together a comparison of key nutrients and ingredients in several leading brands of plant-based chicken (as well as actual chicken).

The first table compares breaded nuggets, which is the most common format.  The second compares the one brand of unbreaded plant-based chicken I could locate with boneless, skinless chicken breast (cooked).

Note: The values in these tables may not match the numbers that you’ll see on the Nutrition Facts labels of these products. That’s because the manufacturers’ serving sizes ranged from 2.5 ounces (70g) to 3.5 ounces (95g). In order to make the comparisons fair, the tables below show the nutrient values for 3 ounces (85g) of each product.

Plant-based chicken nuggets (breaded)

3 oz servingChickenDaringMeatless FarmBeyond MeatImpossible
Fat (g)117131311
Sat fat (g)312.521.5
Carb (g)1519221617
Fiber (g)04222
Sugars (g)0221<1
Protein (g)1410121412
Iron (mg)13212
Potassium (mg)191196370265510
Sodium (mg)379610400475430
Gluten freeNoNoNoNoNo
Soy freeYesNoYesYesNo
IngredientsChicken, water, wheat flour, contains 2% or less of the following: brown sugar, corn starch, dried garlic, dried onion, dried yeast, extractives of paprika, natural flavor, oat fiber, salt, spices, wheat starch, white whole wheat flour, yellow corn flour. Breading set in vegetable oil.Water, Soy Protein-Concentrate, Sunflower Oil, Salt, Natural Flavor, Spices (Paprika, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mace, Cardamon), wheat flour, canola oil, water, yellow corn flour, potato starch, rice flour, salt, leavening (cream of tartar, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), sugar, dextrose, garlic, onion, yeast.Vegetable proteins (Water, Wheat Protein, Wheat Flour), Cornflakes (Corn, Sugar, Salt, Barley Malt Extract), Water, Sunflower Oil, Wheat Gluten, Wheat Flour, Pea Starch, Pea Protein, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Yeast Extract, Bamboo Fiber, Methylcellulose, Potassium LactateWater, Faba Bean Protein, Breading (Wheat Flour, Rice Flour, Salt, Corn Starch, Pea Proteinᵗ, Canola Oil, Wheat Gluten, Paprika, Spices, Dextrose, Leavening[Sodium Acid Phrophosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate], Sugar, Sunflower Oil, Dried Onion, Dried Garlic, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors), Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Sea Salt, Dried Yeast), Vital Wheat Gluten, Modified Corn Starch, Natural Flavors, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Pea starch, Methylcellulose, and 1% or less of Yeast Extract, Refined Coconut Oil, Salt, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Sodium Phosphates, Spices, Titanium dioxide (for color), Sunflower Lecithin.Water, Wheat Flour, Soy Protein Concentrate, Soybean Oil, Sunflower Oil, , 2% or less Of: Potato Starch, Methylcellulose, Salt, Natural Flavors, Cultured Dextrose, Wheat Gluten, Yeast Extract, Yellow Corn Flour, Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Spices, Leavening (Cream of Tartar, Sodium Bicarbonate), Dried Yeast, Paprika Extract (for color), Mixed Tocopherols (Antioxidant) Vitamins and Minerals: (Zinc Gluconate, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12).

Plant-based chicken vs chicken (plain)

3 oz servingChickenDaring
Fat (g)32
Sat fat (g)10
Carb (g)06
Fiber (g)06
Sugars (g)00
Protein (g)2617
Iron (mg)0.54
Potassium (mg)332416
Sodium (mg)44480
Gluten freeYesYes
Soy freeYesNo
IngredientsChickenWater, Soy Protein-Concentrate, Sunflower Oil, Salt, Natural Flavor, Spices (Paprika, Pepper, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mace, Cardamon)

Product Review: RIND dried fruit snacks

If you’re looking for a nutritious and shelf-stable treat to bridge the gap between grocery runs, RIND dried fruit snacks are an interesting new (to me) option to consider.

They’re available from various online and brick-and-mortar retailers.  You can also purchase them directly  from the company’s website and right now they are donating a portion of all proceeds to support Feeding America‘s Covid-19 response fund.

RIND recently sent me some of their products to sample and I was quite impressed on a few levels (and when it comes to new products and snack foods in general, I’m actually kind of hard to impress…)

There’s power in the peel

First, these are not your typical dried fruit snacks.  RIND believes in drying “the fruit, the whole fruit, and nothing but the fruit.”  That means peels and all! The result is a tangier, tarter, chewier, more grown up type of dried fruit snack.

I found the balance of sweetness, tartness, and bitterness in the dried orange, persimmon, pineapple, and kiwi much more interesting and enjoyable than bland dried apples or overly sweet banana chips.  The chewiness (which occasionally tips over into toughness) also slows you down a bit, which is useful for portion control.

Preserving the peels and rinds reduces food waste, of course, but it also substantially amps up the nutritional value. Much of the fiber of fruit is found in the peels and RIND snacks are quite a bit higher in fiber than most dried fruit– up to a quarter of the day’s requirement in a single serving.

Valuable nutrients are also often concentrated in (or right under) the peel.  When you peel apples, for example, you lose half the fiber and iron. And if you want to get the most nutrition out of your citrus fruit, don’t remove that white pith! It may be a bit bitter (some say pleasantly so).  But it’s rich in quercetin and other antioxidants.   And all of that–plus the nutrients found in the outer rind–is preserved in the RIND snacks.

RIND is a small company. (I had a couple of questions about the nutrition information and the owner called me himself to answer them).  They use all USA-grown fruit and add no sulfites, sugar, or preservatives.

If your quarantine (or post-quarantine) rations could use a little brightening up, check them out! My favorite flavors are the Tropical Blend (kiwis, pineapples, and oranges) and the Orchard Blend (peaches, apples, persimmons).

[This is not a sponsored post, by the way.  Just an honest review.]

Comparison of Oat Milk Brands

In this week’s Nutrition Diva podcast, I talked about the pros and cons of oat milk, the latest craze in nondairy milk alternatives.

Here’s a breakdown of the nutrition for several leading brands. (Nutrition information is for 8 fluid ounces.)  Below, I’ve included the ingredients for each brand as well.

BrandGluten Free?CaloriesProteinFiberSugarCost/fl oz
Califia UnsweetenedYes100212$0.10
Dream Oat Beverage OriginalNo1202211$0.09
Elmhurst Milked Oats Yes100425$0.22
Pacific Foods Organic Oat OriginalNo1304217$0.10
Planet Oat OatmilkYes90224$0.08
The Original Oatly Oat-milkYes120327$0.08
Califia UnsweetenedOatmilk (Water, Oats), Sunflower Oil, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sea Salt).
Dream Oat Beverage OriginalOat Base (Water, Oats), Safflower Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Sea Salt, Vitamin D2, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin B12, Tricalcium Phosphate.
Elmhurst Milked Oats Filtered Water, Whole Grain Oats, Cane Sugar, Salt, Natural Flavors.
Pacific Foods Organic Oat OriginalWater, Oats*, Oat Bran*, Contains 1% Or Less Of: Gellan Gum, Sea Salt, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamin D2. *Organic
Planet Oat OatmilkOatmilk (Filtered Water, Oats), Calcium Carbonate, Dipotassium Phosphate (Stabilizer), Sea Salt, Gellan Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) And Vitamin B12.
The Original Oatly Oat-milkOatmilk (water, oats). Contains 2% or less of: rapeseed oil, dipotassium phosphate, calcium carbonate, tricalcium phosphate, sea salt, dicalcium phosphate, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin D2, vitamin B12.

Six Free Apps That Will Make Meal-Prep Easier

Though applications are supposed to make your life easier, sometimes finding the right app can be a challenge. A “meal planning” search in the App Store yields pages of tools that claim to help you conquer the grocery store, step up your lunchbox game and make peace with your plate, but how can you know which apps are actually effective? After lots of downloading and deleting, I’ve put together a list of six free apps that have allowed me to spend more time enjoying my food rather than preparing it. These apps are available for both iPhone and Android users.

#1. Instacart: Best for buying groceries when you don’t have time to shop

As a nutrition coach in University of Maryland’s Health Center, I’ve found that my clients who grocery shop regularly are more likely to meet their nutritional goals compared to those who do not. This makes sense, as it’s pretty hard to eat healthfully if you lack nutritious foods in your home. With the Instacart app, you can have fresh produce delivered to your home with the literal flick of your finger. Not having time to make it to the grocery store will no longer be an excuse for not eating healthfully.


After typing your zip code into Instacart, a list of stores in your area will come up on your screen. After selecting a store, you can use the search bar to quickly find and order specific items, or, for a more authentic grocery store experience, you can add items to your cart as you peruse the different categories. You can also access Instacart online. Though the Instacart app is free, the order must be at least $10 to be eligible for delivery, and there is a $3.99 delivery fee (some of this money goes toward tipping the driver). You can subscribe to Instacart Express ($9.99/month or $99/year) to avoid this fee on orders above $35. Have fun portable grocery shopping!


Continue reading “Six Free Apps That Will Make Meal-Prep Easier” >

Which Appliances are Worth the Counter Space?

In my house, kitchen appliances live in one of two places: in the kitchen or in the basement. The ones in the kitchen are the ones that I use constantly. The ones in the basement are the ones that only come out once in a while.

My Constant Favorites


This lives right on the kitchen counter because I use it almost every day. I have a Vitamix which is no small investment, but this workhorse has served me well for years. I’m actually on my second Vitamix. After 15 years, I decided to retire my original, and Vitamix has a trade-in program that gave me a discount on my new purchase. There are less expensive options, such as the NutriBullet Blender–and the Vitamix is more power than you’d need for smoothies. However, its heavy duty parts and high powered motor can also turn whole wheat into flour, nuts into nut butter, and other tasks that might cause a lesser motor to wheeze.


Instant Pot Electronic Pressure Cooker

I hesitated before jumping on this particular bandwagon because I’d never used a pressure cooker before and didn’t particularly miss it. Turns out that was just because I didn’t know what I was missing. Instant Pot fans tend to be a bit cult-like, but I’ve totally drunk the Koolaid. I use it to hard-boil eggs (perfect every time!), make stock in 30 minutes instead of two hours, cook hard beans and steel cut oats to tender (but not mushy) perfection in 15 minutes, and countless soups, stews, and one-pot meals. There are many sites, cookbooks, and Instagram feeds dedicated to Instant Pot recipes, so inspiration and instruction is never more than a click away. Easily the best kitchen purchase I’ve made in ten years.

Listen to my podcast episode: 4 Reasons You Need a Pressure Cooker. Continue reading “Which Appliances are Worth the Counter Space?” >

This Probiotic Cereal Doesn’t Make Me Happy Inside

Probiotic foods continue to be one of the hottest food and nutrition trends. And now Kellogg’s has jumped on the bandwagon with a new probiotic cereal called Happy Inside. While this new offering is certainly on trend, I think they’ve missed the mark in a number of ways:

1. “Yogurty probiotic pieces” that are neither yogurty nor probiotic.

Don’t be fooled by the mention of “yogurt,” these are pieces of candy. They’re made of unnecessary ingredients like sugar, palm kernel oil, and Greek Yogurt Powder (which is heat-treated, killing any beneficial bacteria.)

2. Four kinds of added sugar, totaling 9 grams per serving

I’ve certainly seen worse, but it reminds me of General Mill’s “healthy” fail a few years ago with their high protein Cheerios, which added only a modest amount of protein but a whole lot of sugar. (What were they thinking?)

3. A single strain of probiotic bacteria

When it comes to live and active cultures, it’s just one lonely strain (Bifidobacterium lactis HN019) with a limited amount of research to back it up. Although HN019 may enhance immune function in the elderly, the strain otherwise has a small portfolio of effectiveness.

4. Plenty of marketing gloss

The cereal calls itself a 3-in-1 product because it contains fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics.  However, “prebiotic” and “fiber” are just two ways of saying the same thing.

The Bottom Line on Happy Inside

Rather than spending big bucks on this highly processed food, you can get more pre- and probiotic benefit at a lower cost with higher nutritional value.  For example, stir 1/3 cup of Swiss Muesli (I like this no-added-sugar brand from Familla) into 2/3 cup unsweetened kefir and refrigerate overnight for a gut-friendly breakfast without all the junk.


Is Halo Top Ice Cream Healthy?

Piper writes:

“Ordinarily, I try to eat natural, whole foods. But I have a soft spot – literally and figuratively — for ice cream. There are some new brands of ice cream, such as Halo Top, that are supposedly higher in protein and lower in fat, sugar, and calories.  The main ingredients are milk protein concentrate, erythritol, corn fiber, and other things one would not find in premium ice cream. Being able to eat an entire pint of ice cream for just a few hundred calories is tempting. But are these products too processed to be good for us?”

Premium ice creams made from milk, cream, and sugar can claim to be less highly processed and perhaps more “natural.” They are also deliciously rich–meaning, high in sugar, fat, and calories. If you’re the type that can savor the recommended (but ridiculously small) half-cup serving size, you can enjoy a decadent treat without doing too much damage.

The problem is that most of us can easily plow through an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s (did I mention the part about delicious?), at which point we’ve consumed a half day’s worth of calories and four day’s worth of added sugar.

One of the big attractions of Halo Top ice cream is that you can eat the entire pint for about the same number of calories as a tiny scoop of Ben and Jerry’s.  You also get 20 grams of high-quality protein, 12 grams of fiber, and 24 grams (one day’s worth) of added sugars.  For many people, Halo Top wouldn’t just be a healthier dessert option; it would make a more nutritious breakfast!

What is in this stuff?

Although taste is highly subjective, I actually think they taste pretty darned good. Which is surprising when you look at the ingredient list, which contains things like erythritol, prebiotic fiber, milk protein concentrate, vegetable glycerin, organic guar gum and organic stevia leaf extract (in addition to things like milk, eggs, cream, and cane sugar).

This is not a minimally-processed food, by any stretch of the imagination. But perhaps this is processing put to a good cause. Continue reading “Is Halo Top Ice Cream Healthy?” >