Plant Protein - Picture of a "Dragon bowl" with a variety of healthy vegetables and legumes and a glass of water with lemon wedges - Vert au Verre

Change will start to happen depending on what you choose to put on your plate

Plant protein instead of meat

You probably already know that plant protein has a protective effect against diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or cancer. Furthermore, you might have considered eating a little less meat and a little more of the green stuff because you want to lose weight, be healthier, and do your part in terms of reducing your carbon footprint.

Benefits of plant protein diets

When you decide to rely less on animal products, it can be a great first step in upping your intake of nutrient-rich whole foods. Also, if you choose to consume a variety of plant-based foods, and your calorie intake needs are fully met, you will have had enough protein for the day. Actually, most vegetarians do not calculate the amount of protein grams they consume in a day. They simply include a variety nutrient dense foods and good sources of plant protein at every meal.

How do you get enough plant protein without calculating every gram?

The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada has published the following statement about the plant-based protein requirements :

« Plant protein can meet requirements when a variety of plant foods is consumed and energy needs are met. Research indicates that an assortment of plant foods eaten over the course of a day can provide all essential amino acids and ensure adequate nitrogen retention and use in healthy adults, thus complementary proteins do not need to be consumed at the same meal. »

(Source : « Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada », Journal of The American Dietetic Association, June 2003, vol. 103, no 6, 748-765)

If you are hesitant about replacing animal protein with plants, rest assured. If you are consuming a plant based meal that is well-balanced, and well planned you are on the right track. Just make sure you are consuming a variety of plant proteins. Consequently you will ensure that you meet ALL your daily requirements.

Plant-based protein demystified

According to recent studies, for a sedentary man, the recommended daily requirements for protein intake is 0,8g per kilogram of his weight, so about 56 – 91 grams per day. Therefore, a sedentary women should aim for 46 – 75 grams of protein daily.

If your work is physically demanding, if you walk a lot, run, swim, you will need to include a bit more protein in your diet. Endurance athletes also need to eat a bit more protein, about 1,2 to 1,4 grams per kg of weight. The elderly should also aim at consuming more protein, up to 50% more than the daily requirements, about 1 to 1,32 grams per kg.

The following plant-based foods are good sources of protein :

Source Quantity Protein intake
Cooked soybeans ½ cup 12g
Peanut butter 2 tablespoons 7g
Cooked chickpeas ½ cup 8g
Red lentils 1 cup (200g) 19,5g
Green lentils 1 cup (200g) 18,9g
Butter beans 1 cup (200g) 18,4g
Adzuki beans 1 cup (200g) 18,3g
Pinto beans 1 cup (200g) 16,3g
Kidney beans 1 cup (200g) 16,2g
Black beans 1 cup (200g) 16,1g
Lima beans 1 cup (200g) 15,6g
Firm tofu 1 package (230g) 32g
Soy milk 1 cup 7g
Cooked quinoa 1 cup 6g
Almonds ¼ cup 8g
Chia seeds 2 tablespoons 3g
Cooked barley 1 cup 4g
Walnuts 1 cup (100g) 16g

 

Therefore, a meatless meal can fulfill all your basic nutrient and protein requirements. In light of this information about plant-based proteins, will you opt for a vegetarian or vegan meal today?

Are you ready to start planning your meals and making better food choices for you and your family? Stay tuned for healthy vegetarian recipes in my future posts and videos! You can subscribe to this blog, and receive notifications of new posts and videos by email on a monthly basis.