Share on Facebook

6 “Fake” Foods Worth Eating

You won't feel bad about feasting on these new, healthier versions of favorites like candy, eggs, cheese, and meat, and you might just help change the world along the way.

Beyond Meat

Fake Chicken: Beyond Meat

Compared to real chicken, plant-based Beyond Meat—created from soy and pea protein—packs a higher nutritional punch (a 120-calorie serving boasts 20 grams of protein) for less money. Their hensanely delicious Chicken-Free Strips shreds just as well as any boneless, skinless breast.

“When you [cut it up] and combine it with, say, chopped tomato and lettuce and mayonnaise with some seasoning in it, and wrap it in a burrito, you won’t know the difference between that and chicken,” says food writer and cook Mark Bittman. “I didn’t, and this is the kind of thing I do for a living.”

So Meatless Monday-ers to seasoned vegans: Get it at Whole Foods Market (around $12 a pound) or in meals at a  Tropical Smoothie Café.

Justin Viola

Fake Eggs: Beyond Eggs

A powder made of legumes, grains, starches, fats and natural gums, Beyond Eggs recreates the real deal across the edible spectrum from baked goods to scrambled “eggs.” (Up next: Dive into risk-free raw cookie dough!) They’ve also got a line of “Just Mayo” that tastes so good—no yoking around—it’ll fool any Earl of Sandwich.

The plant-based egg substitute is lactose-, soy- and gluten-free, lacks any cholesterol, and eliminates the risk of food safety concerns like antibiotics use or avian flu. If you’re vegan, allergic, or concerned about the humane treatment of chickens, Beyond Eggs satisfies your taste buds without environmental or ethical worries. What’s more, it’s 18% cheaper than battery cage eggs. Debuting in August, their products will be sold in retail outlets as well as to industrial food manufacturers and restaurant suppliers.


Fake Candy Bars: Unreal Candy

Like M&Ms? Snickers? Reese’s? Then you’ll love the healthier counterparts Unreal Candy has developed for these indulgences—sans corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, GMOs, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors. Using real cane sugar and organic blue agave, these “unjunked” treats slash between 9 and 14 grams of sugar from their mainstream friends.

It all started when the dad of 13-year-old Nicky Bronner confiscated his Halloween candy for being too unhealthy, and Nicky set out to prove his dad wrong. After talking to doctors and food scientists, he soon realized dad was right—so he teamed up with chef Adam Melonas to create Unreal. And believe us, if these gourmet-tasting treats pass teens’ tests, you know the stuff is good. Satiate your sweet tooth at CVS, Target or Stop & Shop.

Kite Hill

Fake Cheese: Kite Hill

Though dairy-free cheeses are readily available, many are unappealing mixes of soy protein (a no-go for people with allergies and soy sensitivity), vegetable oils and artificial ingredients like starches and gums. Lyrical Foods, Inc. has changed the game with its Kite Hill line of artisanal cheeses made from almond and macadamia milk that includes only natural ingredients.

Using nut milks, cultures, enzymes and salt, the company produces four kinds of cheese, including the killer creamy truflle, dill and chive Cassucio that will win over any casein connoisseur at your next wine and “cheese” night. Pick up your wedge at Whole Foods Market nationwide later this summer (They’re currently available at select Whole Foods Markets in California) for around $14-15 per 6 oz.  wheel.

The Sneaky Chef

Fake Peanut Butter: No-Nut Butter

Made out of non-genetically modified golden peas, this imitation PB by The Sneaky Chef is just as good as the real deal. It tastes exactly like other nut spreads but is completely, 100-percent peanut-, tree nut- and soy-free, making it a perfect alternative for those with allergies or sensitivities. Try the nut-free spread in a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich or as a base in Asian-inspired peanut sauces. Look for it in 18 oz jars at Whole Foods Market or at Walmart.

Fake Beef: Modern Meadow

Think of start-up Modern Meadow like a cow-less cattle ranch: The company is in the works to manufacture slabs of beef using 3D printing of lab-grown muscle cells. (They’re also looking to culture leather.) Modern Meadow has received over $2 million dollars in funding, and while no products are on the shelves yet (the company’s still working on its prototype research), stay tuned.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Perri O. Blumberg
A former food editor at Reader's Digest, Perri Blumberg is a writer and editor based in New York City. After attending Columbia University, where she received a BA in psychology, she went on to study food at a health-supportive culinary school. Her work has appeared in O Magazine, Men's Journal, Country Living, and on Mind, Body, Green, among others.