Nutritional Value Of Protein
The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains.
Different foods contain different amounts of essential amino acids. Generally:
- Animal products have all of the essential amino acids and are known as ‘complete’ protein .
- Soy products, quinoa and the seed of a leafy green called amaranth also have all of the essential amino acids.
- Plant proteins usually lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.
People following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose a variety of protein sources from a combination of plant foods every day to make sure they get an adequate mix of essential amino acids.
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually get the protein you need. For example, a meal containing cereals and legumes, such as baked beans on toast, provides all the essential amino acids found in a typical meat dish.
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.
Top 10 Foods Highest In Protein
Protein is a macronutrient that forms the building blocks of the human body. It is necessary for the growth and repair of all tissues, along with many other functions including forming hormones and enzymes. A deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy and impaired functioning of the body in general.
Recommended Reading: How Much Protein Should I Be Eating
Vegetarian Choices In The Protein Foods Group
Vegetarians get enough protein from this group as long as the variety and amounts of foods selected are adequate. Protein sources from the Protein Foods Group for vegetarians include eggs , beans, peas, and lentils, nuts and seeds , and soy products . For more information on beans, peas, and lentils, see Beans, Peas, and Lentils are Unique Foods.
Meatless Protein: 7 Great Sources Of Protein Other Than Meat
Protein is often associated with weight-lifting and building lean muscle, but a diet high in protein can also help us maintain a healthy weight, build and repair muscle tissue, and curb our appetite. Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is considered a macronutrient which means we have to consume large amounts to stay healthy. According to the USDAs Recommended Dietary Allowances , we should take in between 10 to 35 percent of our daily calories from protein sources. Now, if you think the only way you can up your protein intake is by eating more steak and chicken, there are more protein sources in your diet other than meat.
You May Like: Food With Protein In It
Protein Maintaining Muscle Mass As You Age
From around 50 years of age, humans begin to gradually lose skeletal muscle. This is known as sarcopenia and is common in older people. Loss of muscle mass is worsened by chronic illness, poor diet and inactivity.
Meeting the daily recommended protein intake may help you maintain muscle mass and strength. This is important for maintaining your ability to walk and reducing your risk of injury from falls.
To maintain muscle mass, its important for older people to eat protein effectively. This means consuming high-quality protein foods, such as lean meats.
Protein Powders Shakes And Bars
In most cases, consuming the right balance of whole foods each day will provide you with all the nutrients you need, negating the need for protein supplements. However, you may benefit from supplementing your diet if you’re:
- A teenager who is growing and exercising a lot.
- An adult switching to a vegan dieteliminating meat, chicken, fish, and even dairy and eggs from your diet.
- An older adult with a small appetite who finds it difficult to eat your protein requirements in whole foods.
- Starting or increasing a regular workout program, trying to add muscle, recovering from a sports injury, or find you feel weak while exercising or lifting weights.
Recommended Reading: High Protein Low-carb Snacks
Final Thoughts On The Best Non
If you decide to avoid eating meat and meat products, this list of 15 protein sources that arent meat will help you to get enough protein.
The protein content of these non-meat protein food sources varies. Some are considered complete proteins, while others are not.
If you decide not to eat meat, try incorporating a variety of these protein sources or combinations of them into your diet to ensure you meet your amino acid needs. If you want to learn more about combining proteins, check out this article.
How To Get Enough Protein Without Meat
One of my son’s eighth-grade friends recently became a vegetarian. He joins the approximately 4 percent of youths in this country who eat meatless. As much as my boys respect his choice and recognize his passion for the environment that spurred the decision, neither of them truly understands it.
Although my sons eat plenty of vegetables, their most requested dinners include sausage, pork or ground beef. In fact, their favorite meal is grilled pork tenderloin with bacon corn relish. We call it pig on pig. We eat it with loads of green vegetables and rotate fish, chicken and quinoa on other nights. But I wont lie: I make it a lot.
The boys asked how their friend could put on enough muscle, possess enough energy or be such a good athlete without meat. I told them that meat can be very good for growing boys and athletes, as its protein helps to build muscle, repair tissue, provide energy and balance mood but it is by no means necessary. If he’s eating enough vegetarian sources of protein, iron and B vitamins, their friend will perform just as well. In fact, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ position on vegetarian diets is that “well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”
You May Like: Best Protein Smoothies For Weight Loss
Why Do We Need Protein
Forget the protein shakes, powders and supplements, lets get back to basics. Protein is made up of smaller units called amino acids and is essential for repairing damaged cells and building new ones. Its essential in the building of tissues, muscles and bones, so its important to make sure your body has what it needs.
Read Also: Make Your Own Protein Powder
A Note On Processed Foods
Remember that the term processed foods includes a wide variety of products, many of which are more convenient and less expensive than other foods. Not all foods that undergo processing are considered unhealthy or harmful.
Learn more about different levels of food processing here.
Using supplements and fortified foods to bridge any nutritional gaps can also minimize your risk of experiencing ill effects from a vegan diet.
Well-planned vegan diets offer several health benefits but may also pose a few risks. To maximize benefits and minimize risks, choose whole plant foods whenever possible, and use supplements and fortified foods if needed.
Also Check: Easy To Digest Protein Powder
Getting More Protein Into Your Day Naturally
If youre looking for ways to get more protein into your diet, here are some suggestions:
- Try a peanut butter sandwich. Remember to use natural peanut butter with no added salt, sugar or other fillers.
- Low-fat cottage or ricotta cheese is high in protein and can go in your scrambled eggs, casserole, mashed potato or pasta dish. Or spread it on your toast in the morning.
- Nuts and seeds are fantastic in salads, with vegetables and served on top of curries. Try toasting some pine nuts or flaked almonds and putting them in your green salad.
- Beans are great in soups, casseroles, and pasta sauces. Try tipping a drained can of cannellini beans into your favourite vegetable soup recipe or casserole.
- A plate of hummus and freshly cut vegetable sticks as a snack or hummus spread on your sandwich will give you easy extra protein at lunchtime.
- Greek yoghurt is a protein rich food that you can use throughout the day. Add some on your favourite breakfast cereal, put a spoonful on top of a bowl of pumpkin soup or serve it as dessert with some fresh fruit.
- Eggs are a versatile and easy option that can be enjoyed on their own or mixed in a variety of dishes.
Sunbutter Is Delicious In Recipes
SunButter is also a great peanut butter substitute for recipes. Use SunButter in place of peanut butter in most recipes including cookies, snacks, bars and other treats. for over 100 recipes featuring SunButter, download our free School Safe Recipe Book, or watch one of our SunButter recipe videos for quick and easy recipes.
Also Check: High Protein Low Fat Diet
Protein: Essential For A Healthy Diet
The Recommended Daily Allowance for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements.
To determine your RDA for protein, you can divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 and multiple by 0.8. For example, a 140-pound woman would require approximately 51 grams of protein per day.
That said, its important to keep in mind that not all vegan diets will be equally beneficial.
While well-planned vegan diets made up of mostly minimally processed foods are considered beneficial for all stages of life, those including large amounts of ultra-processed plant foods are not (
Sprouting, fermenting, and cooking foods in cast-iron cookware can further enhance your bodys ability to absorb the nutrients contained in plant foods .
Minimizing your intake of processed plant foods, while increasing your intake of whole or minimally-processed ones can help reduce the risk of experiencing nutrient deficiencies.
Ways To Get More Protein Without Eating 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.
Recommended Reading: How Much Protein Needed Per Day
Best Protein Alternatives To Meat Besides Tofu
Do you hate tofu? Or are you just plain sick of it? Check out these 15 tasty alternatives to both meat and tofu that will make you smack your lips in delight.
1. Quinoa: This tiny seed is full of protein, easy to cook and very versatile. A cup of cooked quinoa serves up eight grams of protein and you can get more by serving it with chickpeas, beans and nuts. Plus, it is one of the only non-meat options that provide the nine essential amino acids our bodies cant produce on their own, including lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Plus, quinoa contains fiber, iron, magnesium and manganese. Buy it white, red or black, in bulk or in a box. Rinse it well , then cook it like rice: combine one part quinoa to two parts water in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for around 15 minutes. Serve hot with stir-fried vegetables or cold in a salad of leafy greens, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers or in some saucy combo you particularly like.
A cup of cooked quinoa serves up eight grams of protein and you can get more by serving it with chickpeas, beans and nuts.
4. Kidney Beans: I also think of these beans as chili beans, dont you? Cooked kidney beans pack about 15 grams of protein into every cup serving they are also a terrific source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. I prefer to eat these beans hot, as in a veggie stew, soup or chili.
Mediterranean Vs Vegan Diet: Which Is Better
The Mediterranean diet and vegan diet are two popular eating plans. Both have been well-studied for their many potential health benefits.
The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating patterns of people in Mediterranean countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy. Its known for promoting a variety of foods that are both flavorful and nutritious.
Meanwhile, the vegan diet encourages a wide range of plant-based foods and is associated with both health and environmental benefits.
While there are some clear similarities between these two diet plans, you may also wonder how they compare.
This article takes a closer look at the Mediterranean and vegan diets to help you determine which is right for you, if either.
Don’t Miss: Protein Powder Chocolate Chip Cookies
Protein In The Vegan Diet
by Reed Mangels, PhD, RDFrom Simply Vegan 5th Edition
Summary:It is easy for a vegan diet to meet recommendations for protein, aslong as calorie intake is adequate. Strict protein combining is notnecessary it is more important to eat a varied diet throughout theday.
SomeAmericans are obsessed with protein. Vegans are bombarded withquestions about where they get their protein. Athletes used to eatthick steaks before competition because they thought it would improvetheir performance. Protein supplements are sold at health foodstores. This concern about protein is misplaced. Although protein iscertainly an essential nutrient which plays many key roles in the wayour bodies function, we do not need huge quantities of it. Only aboutone calorie out of every 10 we take in needs to come from protein.Vegan athletes, especially in the early stages of training, may havehigher protein needs than vegans who exercise moderately or who arenot active. Vegan athletes protein needs can range from 0.36 to0.86 grams of protein per pound 2. Protein supplements are notneeded to achieve even the highest level of protein intake.
So, in theUnited States it appears that vegan diets are commonly lower inprotein than standard American diets. Remember, though, with protein,more is not necessarily better. There do not appear tobe health advantages to consuming a high protein diet. Diets that arehigh in protein may even increase the risk of osteoporosis 4 andkidney disease 5.
To Avoid Problems When Increasing Protein Intake
- Choose unsalted nuts and seeds, to reduce your daily sodium intake.
- When shopping for canned beans, choose the low sodium versions.
- Adding more protein to your diet can increase urine output, so drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Increasing protein can also cause calcium loss so make sure to get plenty of calcium .
Recommended Reading: Diseases From Too Much Protein
Sesame And Sunflower Seeds
Don’t discount the other seeds in your pantry. The more familiar varieties are also high in protein and healthy fats, said Dr. Gerbstadt. For example, sunflower seed kernels contain five grams of protein per one-quarter cup. Also, sesame seeds contain about 6.4 grams.
Try thinking of outside-the-box ways to add more seeds to your diet. “Instead of saving poppy seeds for once a year for your holiday bread, try adding them to a vinaigrette,” suggested Dr. Gerbstadt.
Protein Shakes Powders And Supplements
Protein shakes, powders and supplements are unnecessary for most Australians health needs. According to the most recent national nutrition survey, 99% of Australians get enough protein through the food they eat.
Any protein you eat on top of what your body needs will either be excreted from your body as waste, or stored as weight gain.
The best way for you to get the protein you need is to eat a wide variety of protein-rich foods as outlined in the Australian Dietary Guidelines, as part of a balanced diet. But if you are still interested in using protein shakes, powders and supplements, talk to your doctor.
Don’t Miss: Alani Nu Munchies Protein Powder
Top 20 Alternative Sources Of Protein Other Than Meat
Protein is an important part of everyones diet. It is responsible for repairing and building your muscle tissue, it helps to keep your weight within a healthy range, and it can keep your appetite under control. Most people count on meat, chicken, and seafood as their main sources of protein. But people who have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle need other sources of protein to choose from.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance of protein each day per the USDA is 10 to 35 percent of your total calories. To be more specific, you need 0.8 grams of protein for every 2.2 pounds that you weigh. The average comes out to 56 grams each day for an inactive man and 46 grams for a sedentary woman. Here are top selections to try if you are a vegan or if you just want to start with a meatless Monday.