Getting Nutrients From A Vegetarian Diet
Contrary to popular belief, most vegetarians usually have enough protein and calcium in their diet.
But if you don’t plan your diet properly, you could miss out on essential nutrients. For example, vegetarians need to make sure they get enough iron and vitamin B12 in their diets.
Ways To Get Protein On A Plant
1. Plants with Complete EAA Profiles The easiest way to get protein on a plant-based diet is to consume a variety of plants that have complete EAA profiles. The most popular and simple sources to include in your diet are:
2. Protein Combining
Another common way to ensure adequate protein intake is to combine two or more incomplete plant-protein sources whose EAA profiles complement each other. You dont need to eat them all at the same time or even in the same meal eat them over the course of a day and your body will take care of the rest.
Classic pairings include:
Beans and rice
Whole grain bread with almond or peanut butter
Soups or stews that have legumes and grains
Because plant proteins are harder to digest than animal sources, your body can only absorb and utilize a small amount of the EAAs they contain. One solution is to supplement your intake with plant-based protein supplements like Vegan Protein Powder blends, and vegan EAAs. But remember, unless the isolate is sourced from a plant like hemp or soy, its going to have an incomplete EAA profile. So, if you want to invest in a plant-based protein powder, make sure its a blend of complementary plant isolates that make a complete protein. Many companies make vegan protein blends that cover all the EAAs for you. For example, rice and pea protein blends are a good combination of EAA profiles.
Choose Leaner Slightly Larger Cuts Of Meat
Selecting leaner cuts of meat and increasing portion sizes slightly can significantly boost the protein content of your meal.
Whats more, your meal may even end up being lower in calories.
For example, compare the nutritional value of a 3-ounce serving of these two steaks (
Peanut butter can also boost the flavor and nutritional value of firm fruits like apples and pears, which are rich in fiber and antioxidants yet low in protein.
In fact, spreading 2 tablespoons of peanut butter on sliced fruit can boost the total protein content by 7 grams .
Peanut butter also works well with a wide range of other ingredients, including oatmeal, celery, whole wheat toast, or yogurt.
Adding peanut butter to your diet can boost your protein intake. It may also help decrease appetite, improve heart health, and lower blood sugar.
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Ways To Get More Protein Without Eating Meat
There are lots of wholesome ways to increase your protein intake without resorting to meat.
These days, protein seems to be the superstar nutrient and for good reason. Gram for gram, its more satisfying than carbohydrates or fat meaning it keeps you fuller, longer. Protein is also essential for repairing and building muscle and keeps your metabolism humming along.
The daily recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For most adult men and women, that translates to 46 to 56 grams of protein each day. For reference, a 3-ounce, fist-sized hamburger delivers 24 grams of protein.
Mash Your Potatoes With Some Extra Protein
Who doesnt love mashed potatoes? Those savory and velvety tubers are a Thanksgiving favorite for good reason.
Unflavored protein powder is a perfect addition to mashed potatoes, but the ratio could get a little tricky. Check out this video to learn how to make the perfect protein-packed mashed potatoes and then get yourself to the kitchen stat!
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Struggling To Cook Healthy We’ll Help You Prep
Some say Americans get adequate or even too much protein others argue we could safely eat more than whats recommended .
If youre looking to up your protein intake, that doesn’t necessarily translate to eat more meat. Plus, youre likely aware of ways to add meat-based protein to your diet with beef, chicken, turkey, seafood, etc. Though animal-based protein delivers all of the essential amino acids we need, you can absolutely get sufficient protein from plant-based sources.
Here Are 21 Easy Alternative Ways To Add Protein To Your Diet:
- 1 cup peanuts: 41 grams of protein.
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds:39 grams.
- 1 cup cheese :36 grams
- 1 cup tempeh:34 grams
- 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese:28 grams
- 1 cup oats:26 grams
- ½ cup tofu:22 grams
- 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt:22 grams
- 1 cup kidney beans:21 grams
- 1 cup white beans:19 grams
- 1 cup pinto beans:19 grams
- 1 cup lentils:18 grams
- 1 cup edamame:17 grams
- 1 cup lima beans:15 grams
- 1 veggie burger:11 grams
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter:9 grams
- 1 cup tofu yogurt: 9 grams
- 1 cup cooked quinoa: 8 grams
- 1 cup skim milk:8 grams
- 1 cup soymilk:7 grams
- 1 tablespoon miso:2 grams
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Eat Beans Pulses Eggs And Other Sources Of Protein
Pulses include beans, peas and lentils. They’re a low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and count as a portion of vegetables. Nuts and seeds are also a source of protein and other nutrients.
Pulses are particularly important for people who don’t get protein by eating meat, fish or dairy products.
Other non-dairy sources of protein include eggs and meat alternatives, such as tofu, mycoprotein , textured vegetable protein and tempeh.
You need to eat a variety of different sources of protein to get the right mixture of amino acids, which are used to build and repair the body’s cells.
Here’s How Much Protein To Eat In A Day
In order to determine how much protein you should have in a day, we spoke with Rachel Paul, PhD, RD from CollegeNutritionist.com to get some insight. “The US national recommendations say that the Dietary Reference Intake for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound,” says Paul. “So a person would multiply their body weight in pounds by 0.36. For a 150 pound person, this person should eat at least 54 grams of protein.”
Now typically a serving size of meat is about 4 to 5 oz. According to a handout published by the Nutrition Department at Johns Hopkins Medicine, protein from animal meat will give you 28 grams of protein per a 4 oz. serving. Some seafood has a smaller countlike crabmeat, shrimp, and lobsterwhich provides 24 grams of protein per a 4 oz. serving.
This means that at least 2 or 3 servings of meat will give you a sufficient amount of protein you need in one day. So in order to consume that much protein, we did a dive into other higher protein sources you can easily find at the store that are not directly connected to meat production.
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Why Choose Non Meat Foods
If you are not a big meat eater, then the requirements for more protein may have you concerned. But there are many sources of protein that are not meat. So why should you choose these?
- Add variety to your diet
- Plant based protein sources are higher in vitamins, minerals and fibre
- Many women find non meat protein is more palatable for breakfast
- It goes better in a smoothie. Ive never tried a chicken breast smoothie, but greek yogurt or hemp seeds are great
- You likely eat fewer calories with non meat sources of protein
- Many people choose to eat less meat for ethical or environmental reasons. This is a personal choice.
Remember Not All Proteins Are Alike
While we did a nifty protein comparison, looking at these protein alternatives compared to meat, you should remember that not all proteins are the sameespecially the difference between complete and incomplete proteins.
“Not all foods that contain protein have equal amounts of protein,” says Paul. “Some foods primarily consist of protein, eggs and chicken, while other plant-based protein sources are comprised of protein and carbohydrates, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. The latter foods have fewer grams of protein per weight, and the protein is often incompletemeaning, it doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids that an animal-based protein would. When trying to meet protein needs with plant-based sources therefore, total calories may increase.”
Paul recommends that if you’re not getting an animal protein source at a certain meal, you should get “at least 2 sources of non-animal protein at your meal, nuts and beans, or lentils and quinoa.”
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Have A Protein Shake For Breakfast
Many smoothies contain a lot of fruit, vegetables, or juice, but very little protein.
However, a shake or smoothie can be a great breakfast option, especially if you choose nutritious ingredients.
Whey protein powder has been studied the most and seems to have an edge over the others when it comes to helping you feel full (
Heres a basic whey shake recipe:
Whey Protein Shake
- 8 ounces of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of whey powder
- 1 cup of fresh berries
- stevia or another healthy sweetener, if desired
- 1/2 cup of crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Having a protein shake for breakfast helps you start the day off right. Whey may be the best type to use.
What The Experts Say About Plant
Before we move onto good vegan and vegetarian protein sources for getting this amount, lets take a look at what some well-known and credentialed vegans say about protein.
- In the documentary Forks Over Knives, China Study author Dr. T. Colin Campbell says that you need 8 to 10 percent of your calories to come from protein.
- Vegan Ironman Brendan Brazier, in his appearance on No Meat Athlete radio, says he eats about 15 percent protein when training for short events, and close to 20 percent protein during periods of heavy training for long endurance events.
- Tim Ferriss writes in The 4-Hour Body that ultrarunner Scott Jurek gets 15 to 20 percent of his calories from protein.
- Matt Ruscigno, in the post he wrote for No Meat Athlete about protein for vegetarians, says he recommends that his athlete clients get 10 to 15 percent of their calories from protein.
Notice that everybody expresses things in percentage protein instead of grams, in order to more easily account for different body masses.
How does our 83 grams of protein, for a 140-pound female endurance athlete stack up in terms of percentage of total calories?
Well, the first thing to note is that a gram of protein contains four calories. So:
83 grams * 4 calories/gram = 332 calories of protein
322 calories of protein / 2375 total calories = 13.6% of calories from protein
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The Real Culprit: Protein Or Red Meat
There dont seem to have been any serious studies done comparing the overall health of people on high protein, meat-based diets with those on high protein, mostly vegetarian diets. Could it be that many of the health concerns associated with high protein diets come from the source of the protein rather than from the protein itself?
Eating meat is the quickest and easiest way to absorb a lot of protein at once, but there are still plenty of other ways to get it. Simply choosing the right foods . . . will remedy some problems associated with high protein intake, according to Bodyuilding.com.
How Do Vegans Get Enough Protein From Their Diet
With many consumers opting to ditch meat and dairy products for the sake of the environment, their health, or for the animals, where do vegans get their protein from? is one of the most asked questions of the moment. This often is closely followed by can they get enough of it? and is it the same quality as animal-based protein?
The short answers to the above questions are: from a variety of sources, yes they can, and yes it is. For longer, more detailed explanations on why protein isnt an issue for vegans, weve put together a comprehensive guide, starting with what protein does for the body.
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Tofu Tempeh And Edamame
Tofu, tempeh, and edamame all originate from soybeans.
Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide your body all the essential amino acids it needs.
Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled before you eat them. Then, they can be enjoyed on their own or added to soups and salads.
Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Meanwhile, tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans, then pressing them into a block.
Tofu doesnt have much taste on its own, but it easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients its prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavor.
Both tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from burgers to soups and chilis.
All three soy-based proteins contain iron, calcium, and 1220 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving (
Why Is Protein Important
- It is an essential nutrient that helps your body build and repair all kinds of tissue from bone and muscle to skin and cartilage.
- Protein is also used to produce various chemicals, such as enzymes and antibodies to keep your hormones in check and your immune system up.
- Upon consumption, protein gets broken down into amino acidsthe building blocks of life.
- Your hair and nails are mostly protein.
- Unlike fat, protein is not stored in your bodyit is used up as it comes.
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Is Avocado Rich In Protein
Considering avocado amongst high-protein fruits may surprise you. Avocados are loaded with healthy unsaturated fats which helps in keeping joints supple and blood pressures stable. They are also packed with fibres that are essential for weight loss. One avocado contains 4 grams of protein and 322 calories.
No Meat Doesnt Mean No Protein
Protein is an important dietary element, and meat isnt essential. If you eat pulses and dairy youll be powered by protein, despite what well-meaning relatives may say.
Even if you cant give up meat entirely, you could try replacing it a few times a week. Regular pulse and vegetable based meals can improve your health and help build a more sustainable planet.
Its worth making the effort to go vegetarian so why not give it a try?
Spread the Word
Becky Mathews is a British freelance writer with years of experience in the health and wellbeing niche.
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Vegan Protein: A Simple Guide To Getting What You Need
Where do you get your protein?
Its question vegans and vegetarians get asked more than any other. We hear it so often, in fact, that we tend to forget that some people really do want to know the answer, and arent just asking it with the aim of poking holes in our silly, granola-crunchy plant-based diet plan.
And when it comes to supplements for vegans, protein is the big one people want to know about .
First, the short answer to the question Where do you get your protein?
You dont need as much protein as most people think, and its easy to get what you do need from beans, nuts, seeds, grains, and even greens.
Then, a longer answer: in my new book, The Plant-Based Athlete, we devote an entire chapter to protein, where we really dive in and cover our preferred sources, amino acid considerations, and sample meal plans that show just how easy it is to get what you need on a plant-based diet.
And finally, a medium-sized answer this blog post.
How Much Protein Do You Need
The amount of protein you need per day depends on your age, gender, and activity level.
The current U.S. recommended dietary allowance is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight per day . However, this estimate does not account for active people. Studies suggest that 0.55 grams per pound of body weight per day is the level from which most people can benefit.
To calculate your daily protein needs, multiply your body weight by .55. Thats about 82 grams per day for a 150-pound person.
Now that you know what your daily protein intake needs are, you can use these tips to meet them.
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How To Get Protein As A Vegetarian Key Veggie Foods With Protein
Vegetarians can get enough protein each day from beans, pulses and dairy products.
Dairy sources include eggs, cheese, milk, yogurts, fortified soy, oat or rice drinks. Pulse sources are any beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
All these ingredients can be used in a variety of simple meals, or eaten on their own. Pulses in particular are very cheap and good for you as theyre also packed with fibre and minerals.