In a word: Yes! And why not? From concerns about planetary health to a desire for better personal health, there are plenty of reasons to add a few meatless meals to your routine. High protein plant foods also provide nutrients beyond protein. Expect a healthy dose fibre, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals like calcium and iron.
If going veg seems daunting, rest assured that most meals can be made meatless with just a few substitutions. Love spaghetti bolognese? Try using lentils in place of beef. Chicken stir fry? Try marinated tofu. Nuts and seeds make great choices for protein at snacks. Some less common foods like spirulina (a type of algae) can be added to smoothies, while nutritional yeast lends a cheesy flavour to sauces (or, try it sprinkled on popcorn - delish!).
Ideally, adults should aim to have 20-30 grams of protein at meals. For vegetarian meals, this can usually be accomplished with a combination of beans or lentils and some whole grains. Nuts and seeds are another great way to add a protein boost.
𝑷𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝑷𝒓𝒐𝒕𝒆𝒊𝒏 𝑪𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒕 𝑺𝒉𝒆𝒆𝒕:
- 1 cup soy beverage = 8 grams
- ½ cup firm tofu = 10 grams
- ½ cup tempeh = 15 grams
- ½ cup boiled, shelled edamame = 12 grams
- ¼ cup nuts = 8 grams
- ¼ cup seeds = 8 grams
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter = 8 grams
- 3 Tbsp hemp seeds = 10 grams
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast = 12 grams
- 2 Tbsp spirulina = 8 grams
- 1 cup cooked lentils = 18 grams
- 1 cup cooked beans (kidney, navy, chickpeas, etc) = 15 grams
𝑮𝒐𝒐𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝑲𝒏𝒐𝒘: Whole grains provide a moderate amount of protein along with and can be used to strategically boost your intake at meals.
- 1 slice whole grain bread = 4 grams
- 1 cup whole grain rice, cooked = 5 grams
- 1 cup cooked oats = 6 grams
- 1 cup cooked quinoa = 8 grams
- 1 cup cooked whole grain pasta = 7 grams