I am sure at some time or other you have heard or been a part of a debate about Protein and Vegetarians.
Why is this such a popular discussion?
Well, one of the concerns when someone decides to adopt the vegetarian diet is whether they will be able to get enough protein if they no longer eat meat. This post will simply be a list to show that there is absolutely no shortage of protein when one is on a vegetarian diet.
Do you know what is meant by RDA?
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA): The RDA, is the estimated amount of a nutrient (or calories) per day considered necessary for the maintenance of good health by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council/ National Academy of Sciences.
How do we know if the protein intake of a vegetarian is adequate?……..We check if it has met the Recommended Dietary Allowance.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is 0.8 g per kilogram body weight. Therefore a person who weighs 120 pounds (or 54.5 kg) for example, would require 43 g of protein per day.
High protein foods
Some of the high protein foods that non-vegetarians eat are:
Tuna – 39 g in 1 cup
Lean beef – 22 g in 3 ounces
Chicken breast – 53 g in 1 roasted chicken breast
Turkey breast – 24 g in 3 ounces
Salmon – 19 g per 3 ounces
These foods certainly pack in a lot of protein and we can see how easily the RDA is met and surpassed on this diet.
But where is the vegetarian going to get his/her protein? What can they eat to provide this necessary nutrient.
The answer…….lots of things.
A combination of the various foods listed below will provide all the protein the vegetarian needs to maintain excellent health.
The ongoing debate of Proteins and Vegetarians and the concerns surrounding this topic can be put to rest.
Non-meat Protein sources
Soybean and soybean products:
Tempeh (a traditional Indonesian fermented soy product) – 21 g in 1/2 cup
Dry, roasted soybeans – 18 g in 1/2 cup
Tofu – 10 g in 1/2 cup
Soy milk – 7 g in 1 cup
Spinach – 5 g in 1 cup, cooked
Chia seed – 5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons
Quinoa – 4 g protein per 1/2 cup
Eggs – 6 g per egg
Guava – 4 g per cup
Peas – 8 g per cup
Beans – 7-10 grams per 1/2 cup
Lentils – 18 g per cup
Peanut butter – 7 g per 2 tablespoons
2% Greek yogurt – 20 g protein per 7 oz
Pumpkin seeds – 9 g per oz
Almonds – 6 g per oz
Cashews – 5 g per oz
Black beans – 8 g per 1/2 cup
Raw Oats – 13 g in 1/2 cup
Brown Rice – 5 g per cup
Black eye peas – 8 g of protein in just 1/2 cup
Broccoli – 4 g of protein in just 1 cup,
Green beans/String beans – 4 g of protein in 1/2 cup
Nutritional yeast – 8 g of protein in 2 tablespoons
Chickpeas – 6 – 8 g per 1/2 cup
Whole wheat bread – 3.6 g in one slice
Well there you have it. Quite an extensive yet not an exhaustive list of protein sources for the vegetarian.
Do you think you will be able to get 45 or 50 or 60 grams of protein without having meat in your diet.
Well let’s see.
Let’s work out a days meal plan and see what we come up with.
This is just a basic menu. You would add your spices and seasonings and fruits and juices and whatever else you want to add for that day to make your meals interesting and delicious. We just want to see if we are able to get enough protein according to the Recommended Dietary Allowance.
1/2 cups oats (13g)
1 cup soy milk (7g)
1 slice whole wheat bread (3.6g)
1 tbsp peanut butter (3.5g)
Mid morning snack
1 7oz Greek yogurt (20g)
1/2 cup tofu (10g)
1/2 cup quinoa (4g)
1 cup spinach (5g)
A handful of cashew (5g)
1 cup brown rice (5g)
1 cup lentils (18g)
1 cup broccoli (4g)
Did we make it to 45 or 50 grams of protein for this day?
We didn’t only make it, we went way above it. That basic menu provides 98.1 grams of protein.
Vegetarians and Protein……….. not an issue.
We can safely conclude that there is no shortage of protein in the vegetarian diet. The sources are numerous. Once we include a variety of plant based foods in our diet, our protein requirements will be met.
Are you ready to try some new recipes?
Check out these six high protein, vegetarian dinners by Tasty.
Have you been concerned about your protein intake? Now you know there is no need to be.
Just enjoy your delicious vegetarian meals knowing that all your nutritional needs are being met.
Please drop me a line in the comments section below and let me know how this article has helped you.