Vegetarians, Are You Getting Enough Protein?
Protein equals meat, right? Wrong. Although meat is a great source of “complete” protein. it’s not the only source. Soy products, dairy, and eggs are also “complete” proteins, which means that they contain good amounts of all the amino acids our bodies can’t make. That makes them an excellent choice for vegetarians.
Are you getting tired of tofu and scrambled eggs for every meal? I’ve got a solution for you. Many foods contain proteins and although these may not be high in every essential amino acid, when these foods are eaten together, they create great protein sources. A classic example is a delicious bowl of rice and beans.
For vegetarians, especially those who are active or athletes, watching your protein intake is important. However, it can be a hassle to count every gram. Simply make a conscious effort to include a protein source in most of your meals. And you should always try to eat a variety of foods.
Here are some examples of good, vegetarian protein sources:
- Legumes (beans, peas and lentils)
- Seeds, nuts, and nut butters
- Eggs, yogurt, milk, and cheese
- Soy-based foods (tofu or tempeh)
- Grains (quinoa, wheat, wild rice, barley, oats, and spelt)
Fruits and vegetables also provide some protein. If your proteins are mostly plant-based (that means not eggs or dairy products), I suggest that you increase your protein intake by 10%, because they are not absorbed as well.
If you’re restricting calories for weight loss, have allergies, are super active, or simply have a hard time getting enough protein, a supplement can be a great choice. Check out our blog post on protein supplements to decide which one is right for you.
So if you’ve chosen a vegetarian lifestyle, you can still get the protein you need to support your goals. Just make sure to enjoy a wide array of foods and always consciously include good protein sources in your meals and snacks!
Megan Ostler MS, RDN
WARNING: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFit assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.