ask our dietitian your question todaytofu can be a healthy alternative to meat protein

Can I replace chicken, seafood or turkey with tofu to get my protein? And, can I substitute cottage cheese with yogurt? Thanks. – Melinda


Yes! And Yes!

Tofu is a versatile substitute for animal meats when it comes to protein quality. Made from soybeans, tofu provides all 9 essential amino acids. Ounce for ounce, tofu falls behind animal meats in protein grams, but a well-planned vegetarian diet usually has plenty of protein overall. And with lots of green vegetables, legumes and whole grains you’ll also get many of the important minerals you’ll miss from animal sources.

Of course, you just can’t replace meat with tofu on the grill and in most recipes! It doesn’t have the strands to hold together like muscle tissue does. Extra firm tofu cut into chucks is good for gentle stir fries while silken tofu is excellent for blender smoothies and soups. Diced firm tofu is a wonderful topping to salads and in faux egg-salad.

The Benefits and Basics of Going Vegetarian

Cottage cheese and yogurt are often the alternative for sour cream on baked potatoes. They are easy to swap with one another if served plain with toppings. In recipes though, smooth tart yogurt many not substitute well for salty clumpy cottage cheese. You’ll have to experiment and follow expert kitchen advice to get a tasty result.

Nutrient-wise, cottage cheese and yogurt are cousins. Cottage cheese is high in protein, low in lactose sugar and moderate in sodium. Yogurt is moderate in protein, high in lactose sugar and low in sodium. Both offer calcium and Vitamin D. Only the yogurt has probiotics (good bacteria cultures) that can benefit the body.

Readers, please share in “comments” below your favorite tofu recipes!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

To learn how to follow the “Ask Our Dietitian” Q&A CLICK HERE!

Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.



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