Save a Chicken, “Eat” a Bean!

Protein replacements without the meat…

whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, peskatarian, etc. you may be worried that you’re not getting the right amount of protein in your diet. The truth is most people get more protein than they think. There are many protein sources that don’t come from an animal source and don’t include all the unwanted additives, saturated fats, sodium, and more. Red meat can actually be harmful to our Heath and should be limited if you like your meat. Try to stick to lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish for most of your meals.

If you’re cutting out meat from your diet you may want to include certain foods in your meals to ensure you’re not lacking in any nutrients. The good part is when you get your protein from plant sources you’re usually getting a lot of other essential nutrients and water as well! Plus you’ll know exactly what you’re eating, unlike all those processed meats with added hormones, antibiotics and other unnatural chemicals…scary!

Stick to a clean diet that’s still high in protein by incorporating the right ingredients into your meals.

Here are some high protein plant sources:

Beans (grams of protein per cup)

Soybeans= 29 g

Lentils= 18 g

Chickpeas= 10 g

Grains (grams of protein per cup)

Quinoa (keen-wah)= 9 g

Bulgur= 6 g

Brown rice= 4 g

Nuts & Seeds (grams of protein per ¼ cup)

Peanuts= 9 g

Almonds= 8 g

Sunflower seeds= 6 g

Cashews= 5 g

Making sure you’re getting all the essential amino acids to make a complete protein can be a bit like math.  Just know that amino acids serve as the building blocks for proteins. So you need to ensure that the foods you are eating contain all the right blocks to equal a complete protein source.

Which foods make up a “complete protein” (meaning that all the essential amino acids are present in the right proportion)?

Legumes like lentils, peas and beans + grains, nuts/seeds

Grains like wheat, corn, oats, barley and rye+ legumes or dairy

Nuts/seeds like peanuts, almonds, or cashews + legumes

An example of a complete plant protein meal would be a veggie stir-fry served with brown rice and cashews. Another option would be hummus spread served with a multigrain pita.

The great part about getting your protein from plant sources is that you are also getting essential fatty acids, antioxidants (vitamins A and E) and a ton of fibre! When preparing your meals try and think outside of the box. If you’re adding nuts and seeds, try toasting, grounding or just plain eating them raw! They are so portable and convenient that you can have them on the go and sprinkle them on just about anything from a salad or wrap to a stir-fry or soup. The more ways you combine your plant protein source the more you can be sure that you have gotten your daily dose of protein in your diet.

Check out my blog next week for a more in-depth article on essential and non-essential amino acids and what benefits they provide you with.

Note: No animals were harmed in this article

Your Health Nut,

Nikky

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