diet Food Health & Wellbeing

Vegan? Vegetarian? How to get more protein in your diet without using meat

Protein, the celebrity nutrient in our diet - but how do you get sufficient protein when you're a vegan or a vegetarian?

Protein, the celebrity nutrient in our diet

When reviewing diet and eating plans protein seems to be a key focus, with good reason.  Protein gram for gram, is more substantial than fat or carbohydrates, holding your hunger pangs at bay by making you feel more satisfied for longer.

Protein is critical for keeping your metabolism ticking over while building and repairing muscles.

Daily reference intakes for the average adult aged 19 to 64 are:

  • Energy: 8,400 kJ/2,000kcal
  • Total fat: less than 70g
  • Saturates: less than 20g
  • Carbohydrate: at least 260g
  • Total sugars: 90g
  • Protein: 50g
  • Salt: less than 6g

The daily advocated dietary allowance is 0.75g of protein per kg of body weight, that equates to 46-56g for most adult men and women.  Therefore a person weighing 60kg would require 45g of protein per day.

You don’t have to eat meat to increase your protein intake.  Most people are aware of ways to incorporate meat based protein to their diet, whether it’s chicken, beef or seafood for example.  Animal-based proteins contain all of the essential amino acids we require, however so do vegan and vegetarian-based proteins.

Example of protein content in selected vegan foods:

FOOD AMOUNT PROTEIN PROTEIN
(gm) (gm/100 cal)

Tempeh 1 cup 31 9.6
Soybeans, cooked 1 cup 29 9.6
Seitan 3 ounces 21 17.5
Lentils, cooked 1 cup 18 7.8
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.7
Kidney beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.8
Chickpeas, cooked 1 cup 15 5.4
Pinto beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.3
Lima beans, cooked 1 cup 15 6.8
Black-eyed peas, cooked 1 cup 13 6.7
Veggie burger 1 patty 13 18.6
Veggie baked beans 1 cup 12 5.0
Tofu, firm 4 ounces 11 10.6
Tofu, regular 4 ounces 10 10.7
Bagel 1 med. (3.5 oz) 10 3.9
Quinoa, cooked 1 cup 8 3.7
Peas, cooked 1 cup 8 6.6
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked 1/2 cup 8 15.0
Peanut butter 2 Tbsp 8 4.1
Veggie dog 1 link 8 13.3
Spaghetti, cooked 1 cup 8 3.7
Almonds 1/4 cup 8 3.7
Soy milk, commercial, plain 1 cup 7 7.0
Whole wheat bread 2 slices 7 5.2
Almond butter 2 Tbsp 7 3.4
Soy yogurt, plain 8 ounces 6 4.0
Bulgur, cooked 1 cup 6 3.7
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup 6 3.3
Cashews 1/4 cup 5 2.7
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 5 13.0
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 4 6.7

Source: Vegetarian Resource Group

For more advice on vegan and vegetarian-based proteins please contact your GP or a Dietician.

 

 

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