MEAT FREE MONDAY | Vegetarian Protein Unravelled


For many people vegetarians are a weird social anomaly - a tree hugging, animal loving bunch who spoil dinner party menus, live on nothing but tofu and couldn't possibly be getting enough protein. I stopped eating meat three years ago and I prefer it. My body feels lighter and somehow cleaner although I do have to admit I occasionally eat seafood. However, in those three years I have never actually stopped to ask if I really am getting enough protein. In fact I had no idea how much protein I even needed, until tonight. So, to save you spending a good few hours trawling through the internet as I have, here is what I uncovered.

Image Source: Pruzine

The general consensus seems to be that the average healthy woman needs around 46g of protein per day (for men it's 56g). You can calculate this more specifically according to your body weight though and the recommended RDA is 0.8 grams of protein for every kilo of body weight. So if you weigh 55kg you would need to eat 44g of protein per day (55x0.8). Sounds fine, but what does that equate to??

1. Quinoa is the KING of whole grains. 1 cup = 18 grams of protein.

2. Beans, Lentils and Legumes. 1 cup of kidney beans = 13.4 grams of protein.

3. Tofu and Soy products. 1/2 cup of tofu = 10 grams of protein, 1 cup of soy milk = 7 grams.

4. Nuts and Seeds. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter = 8 grams of protein, 1/2 cup of almonds = 16 grams.

5. Seitan* and Meat Substitutes. 100 grams of seitan = 21 grams of protein.

6.  Tempeh**. 100 grams = around 18 grams of protein.

* I'd never heard of this. Apparently it's a wheat based meat substitute and has a very meaty texture when cooked. 
** I'd never heard of this either! What kind of vegetarian am I?! Like tofu but with the consistency of a veggie patty, it's made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans.

Note: All measurements are thereabouts and research varies so read food labels and consult a professional if you think you're not getting enough protein! 

Watch the video that inspired TCC's Meat Free Monday here.

You Might Also Like