What Does a Vegetarian Dietitian Eat For Protein?

A lot of times vegetarians don't get enough protein. Certainly, there are some who don't. I've heard of vegetarians who just eat white pasta or just eat potato chips. But, if you eat a variety of foods, you can get enough protein on a plant-based diet.

I will show you a day of eating in my life as a vegetarian and a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  

First, I want to remind you that the portions I've listed below are only there so I can show you how much protein is in what amount of the product. I don't usually go around measuring my food and you don't need to either.

Also, those portion sizes may not be the size you eat and that's okay. I'm not presenting this as a strict meal plan for you to follow. I'm just trying to show you it's possible to get enough protein.

So, what is "enough protein"? 
Well, that will depend on your body. RDNs usually use a minimum of 0.8 grams protein per kilogram body weight. People with certain conditions may need more or less, though, so it's best to consult a dietitian for your specific needs.

In my case, I used 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram body weight, which is a minimum protein intake of 42 grams per day. I easily beat that number.

Continue reading to see how.


Granola w/Cashews, Pepitas, & Hemp Seeds
My Meals and Snacks
Breakfast:
1/2 cup custom made granola (approximately 300 Calories, 6 g protein)

1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds (50 Calories, 2 g protein)
1 Tablespoon chia seeds (70 Calories 2 g protein)
1/2 cup soymilk (50 Calories, 3 g protein)

Total for meal: 470 Calories, 13 grams protein

Roasted Grape Tomatoes
Snack: 28 coconut almonds (160 Calories, 5 grams protein)

Lunch:
1 cup cooked macaroni noodles (220 Calories, 8 g protein)
16 grape tomatoes, roasted (20 Calories, 2 g protein)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (100 Calories, 7 g protein)
1 cup soymilk (100 Calories, 6 g protein)

Total for meal: 440 Calories, 23 grams protein


Snack: Small apple with peanut butter (240 Calories, 7 g protein)
Vegetarian Chili

Dinner:
1 cup homemade vegetarian chili (170 Calories, 8 g protein)
1/4 cup cheddar cheese (110 Calories, 7 g protein)
17 crackers (130 Calories, 3 g protein)

Total for meal: 410 Calories, 18 g protein)

Dessert: 1/2 cup soymilk  with 6 chocolate creme-filled wafers (290 Calories, 7 g protein)

(Yes, there's a little bit of junk food in my diet and, yes, it contributed some protein to my intake. See, "junk" food isn't all bad.)

Total Intake for the day: 2010 Calories, 73 grams protein (almost twice my minimum protein needs)

What about vegans?
If you remove the cheese from my diet, it'd be vegan. It would still provide 59 grams of protein, which was above my minimum protein needs.

Not to mention, if you like vegan cheeses, they can provide some protein. For example, 1/4 cup shredded vegan mozzarella and shredded vegan cheddar both provide 1 gram protein.

Reminder
The calories and protein listed are for the brands I used. The nutrition information for your granola, for example, will probably be different.

Also, remember there are a lot of other sources of protein besides those listed above. This is just an example of one single day. I don't eat these exact foods all the time and you shouldn't either. Eating a varied diet isn't just more fun, it's better for you.

Share with me: What, if anything, surprised you? What other plant-based foods do you eat for protein?

Comments

  1. Great points on why you can eat Vegetarian and still get protein - people forget that meat is not the only protein source !!

    ReplyDelete
  2. My friends daughter is having this issue with her diet. These are great tips.

    ReplyDelete

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