Vegetarian Protein Intake
Those who eat a vegetarian diet (and who do it in a healthy way) can often have a great intake of fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains.
One vital dietary component often missed out on is protein and other nutrients that are found in meat. This makes sense when you consider that the defining aspect of being vegetarian is the removal of all meat and seafood products.
Meat, poultry and seafood offer the highest quality of protein foods per calorie content as they are generally high in protein and low in calories compared to other, less valuable sources of protein such as nuts, eggs and legumes.
Here’s a helpful summary of the protein content per 100g of common “protein foods” so that you can see how it works:
- Chicken, Turkey & Beef: 23-25g/100g
- Lamb & Pork 20-23g/100g
- Fish and seafood: 20-25g /100g
- Lentils (dried weight): 25g/100g
- Soybean/Tofu: 16-18g/100g
- Low-Fat Cheese: 24-35g/100g
- Seeds: 18g/100g
- Nuts: 20g/100g
- Eggs: 13g/100g
- Nutritional Yeast: 50g/100g
- Protein powder (whey): 70g/100g
It’s important to note that vegetarians are more likely to eat cooked lentils rather than dried, which would then bring the protein content down to about 6g/100g. If well-planned and rich in alternative protein sources, a vegetarian diet can provide a good amount of protein. However, this can be tricky to do because it’s not as easy to get convenience foods that are high in protein and also vegetarian.
Simple ways for vegetarians to boost their protein intake is to focus on getting good quality food products at each main meal such as high protein greek yoghurt, eggs and protein powder at breakfast, or tofu, tempeh and quorn mince at lunch and dinner.
If you’re vegetarian and looking for easy ways to boost your protein intake, here are my recommendations:
- Add nuts and seeds to cereals and porridge
- Have poached eggs on wholegrain toast
- Sprinkle nutritional yeast on salads and vegetables
- Prep some marinated tofu cubes at the start of the week to add a handful to lunch each day
- Incorporate lentils and legumes into curries and salads
- Have easy on-the-go options such as protein shakes and protein bars
- Take time at the start of the week to prep and plan your shopping list
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