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Myth - Vegetarians Can't Get Enough Protein

Myth - Vegetarians Can't Get Enough Protein

Eating patterns that allow animal-based foods can get protein from foods like meat, poultry, dairy, fish and seafood. However, diets that restrict animal-based foods - such as vegetarians - must rely on plant-based foods for their protein needs. Despite the disparity, those on a plant-based diet can absolutely secure enough protein through plant-based foods. The key is to consume a well-varied diet with adequate amounts of protein to meet daily needs. Here are a couple tips to ensure you're getting enough protein each day.

TIP 1 | Understand your protein needs

All healthy adults require protein daily. The amount your body requires ultimately depends on you, your level of activity and goals. It's important to understand your protein needs to ensure your providing your body what it needs each day.

  • Healthy adults: 1.2 - 1.8 grams protein per kilogram body weight
  • Build muscle: 1.4 - 2.2 grams protein per kilogram body weight
  • Athletic performance: 1.4 - 2.0 grams protein per kilogram body weight

TIP 2 | Consume a variety of foods each day

It's important to choose a variety of foods each day. If you consume a variety of proteins, then you can increase the spectrum of amino acids in the diet. There are a wide-variety of plant-based proteins to choose from. Plant-based proteins can be found in beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds, and soy products.

  • Fava beans, black beans, navy beans, pink beans, white beans, bayo beans, brown beans, lima beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans, chickpeas, split peas, pigeon peas, and black-eyed peas, nut butters, almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, chestnuts, chia seeds, pistachios, flax seeds, hazelnuts, pecans.

Tip 3 | Incorporate high-quality plant-based protein sources

There are slight variations of vegetarian diets. Lacto-vegetarians allow dairy products and ovo-vegetarians allow eggs. Both dairy and eggs are considered high-quality, complete protein sources containing all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities. Uniquely, soy products are considered a complete plant-based protein.

  • Soy products (tempeh, tofu, edamame)
  • Chicken eggs
  • Milk, yogurt, kefir, cheese

In all, vegetarians can absolutely get enough protein through a plant-based diet. However, it's imperative to consume adequate amounts through the day. Be sure to vary your protein sources to help increase nutrition value.