Young women's version of this guide

soyWhat is soy?

Soy foods are products such as soy milk, cheese, yogurt, tofu, ice cream, butters, and other foods that are made from soybeans. Soy foods have recently become more popular in the United States, although people in Asia have eaten soybeans for hundreds of years.

What are the health benefits of soy foods?

Soy is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals such as iron and calcium. Soy contains heart-healthy fat and is also low in saturated fat.

Where can I find soy foods?

Foods containing soy can be found at most local grocery stores, health food stores, or Asian grocery markets. Here is a list of some different soy foods:

Soy FoodDescription
Green soybeans (“edamame”)Fresh soybeans can be eaten as snack or meal after boiling them in lightly salted water for 15-20 minutes.
Hydrolyzed vegetable proteinHydrolyzed vegetable protein is made from soybeans and other vegetables. It can be added to soups or casseroles to add protein and flavor.
MisoMiso is a paste made from soybeans, grain, and salt. Miso can be used to make soup or sauces.
Soy cheeseSoy cheese is made from soy milk and can be used as a substitute for sour cream, cream cheese, or cheese.
Soy flourSoy flour is made from ground roasted soybeans. Soy flour can be added to baked goods to add protein. However, soy flour cannot be used in place of all of the flour in a recipe because it doesn’t have gluten, which is a protein needed to help dough rise.
SoybeansWhole soybeans can be soaked and added to stews and soups for flavor and protein. They can also be roasted for snacks.
SoymilkSoymilk is made from soybeans that have been soaked in water, ground, and strained. Fortified soymilk (which has added calcium and vitamin D) can be used instead of milk as a drink, in cereal, and in other recipes. Soy milk comes plain and in different flavors such as chocolate and vanilla.
Soy nut butterSoy nut butter is made from roasted whole soy nuts, which are crushed and blended with soy oil. The butter can be used in place of peanut butter and is a great substitute for people who are allergic to nuts.
Soy nutsSoy nuts are made from soybeans, which are soaked and then baked. They can be eaten as a snack, added to trail mix, or used as a salad topping.
TempehTempeh is made fermented soybeans and grain. Tempeh can be marinated and grilled and added to soups, casseroles, or chili.
Textured soy protein/textured vegetable protein (TSP/TVP)Textured soy protein/textured vegetable protein is made from soy flour. It’s most often used with, or instead of, meat in casseroles. If TSP/TVP is substituted for meat, other flavorings need to be added. TSP/TVP can be bought as dried kernels and then prepared with boiling water.
TofuTofu is made by curdling fresh, hot soy milk. Firm tofu can be used in soups, stir-fries, and casseroles. Silken tofu can be used for dips and dressings. Tofu is popular in many lunch or dinner entrees.

Nutrition facts for soy foods:

Soy FoodProtein in grams (g)Calcium in milligrams (mg)Iron in milligrams (mg)
Green soybeans (“edamame”), cooked, ½ cup111302
Fortified soymilk, 1 cup73011
Soy cheese, 1 oz6502
Soy flour, ½ cup16803
Soy nut butter, 2 Tbsp7301
Soy nuts, ¼ cup10401
Tempeh, ½ cup17802
Textured vegetable protein, ¼ cup dry12803
Tofu, firm, ½ cup112532

What are some easy ways to eat soy?

  • Try soy nut butter instead of peanut butter
  • Use tofu or tempeh in stir-fries to add protein
  • Try snacking on soy nuts, or mix some into a trail mix
  • Substitute soymilk for cow’s milk

Here are two easy recipes to try:

Tofu Stir-fry


Miso Soup