Can you get enough protein from a meatless meal?
What exactly is protein? Protein is one of the three nutrients that the body requires. Along with carbohydrates and fat, protein is essential for the human body. Proteins are made of small compounds called amino acids. The human body can produce all but nine of the amino acids that it needs. These nine are called essential amino acids and must be consumed through food. Plant based protein can be found in beans or legumes, nuts and seeds, vegetables such as broccoli, quinoa, leafy greens, tofu, and spiraling. Not being able to get enough protein from plant sources is a myth that a lot of people still believe.
Did you know that one cup of raw broccoli contains 8.1 grams of protein? Or that one-half servings of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. It is very achievable to get adequate levels of protein on a meatless diet. Protein is an important nutrient required for the building, maintenance, and repair of tissues to the body. How much protein should we be aiming for in our diet daily then? The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for the average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
To find out your average individual need, simply perform the following calculation: Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = recommended protein intake (in grams).
To make sure you’re getting enough protein to meet your needs on a plant based diet use the follow guide:
- – Aim for five or more servings of grains each day. This may include 1/2 cup of hot cereal, 1 ounce of dry cereal, or one slice of bread. Each serving contains roughly 3 grams of protein.
- – Aim for three or more servings of vegetables each day. This may include 1 cup of raw vegetables, 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables, or 1/2 cup of vegetable juice. Each serving contains about 2 grams of protein.
- – Aim for 2 to 3 servings of legumes each day. This may include 1/2 cup of cooked beans, 4 ounces of tofu or tempeh, and 1 ounce of nuts. Each serving may contain about 4 grams to 10 grams of protein.
Healthful Protein Sources (in grams)
Ready for a protein packed plant based recipe? This black bean burger contains an awesome amount of protein from the black beans and walnuts, and it tastes amazing! Make this for your plant based or omnivore friends, both will love them.
Black Bean Burger
2 cups black beans (approximately 1 can)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup ground chia seeds
1/4 cup parsley
1/2 tbsp each: thyme leaves, sage leaves, poultry seasoning
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup of carrot shavings
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) In a food processor, pulse walnuts, ground chia seeds, parsley, thyme, sage, poultry seasoning, paprika and sea salt until coarse crumbles are formed. Set aside in a medium mixing bowl.
3) Place black beans, garlic and onions in the food processor and pulse five times until roughly combined. Add shredded zucchini + carrot shavings and pulse three more times. Add to the contents of the mixing bowl.
4) Mix all ingredients together until well combined.
5) Form into small patties about 3 inches across and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
6) Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
7) Serve on a bun with the toppings of your choice.