How to Meet Your Protein Needs with Less Meat - Good Food Made Simple

How to Meet Your Protein Needs with Less Meat

Aug 01, 2019
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The times, they are a changin’, and this is also true when it comes to our diet. Contrary to what was once a popular belief, you can still fulfill your protein needs with less meat. Vegetarians can be nourished with whole foods that provide enough protein for the body without consuming animal products.

Now, we’re not here to tell you whether or not you should completely give up meat. Your diet and food choices are completely personal. That said, there are reasons why consuming less meat is good for both the body and the environment.

For one, cutting out red meat could help reduce your risk of cancer. A recent study from JAMA Internal Medicine suggests people who eat vegetarian have a 22 percent lower risk of cancer. Limiting meat intake can also aid with healthy weight loss and lower cholesterol. As for the planet, consuming meat, especially beef and pork, contribute to both climate change and polluted landscapes and waterways. Even just cutting back a bit can be beneficial to the environment.


How Much Protein Do We Need?

The Daily Value for protein is 50 grams based on a 2,000-calorie diet, a value most people get easily. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating a variety of proteins to get your fill, such as eggs, low-fat milk, beans, and soy products.


To better understand was 50 grams of protein looks like, here are two examples:


These two food items right here is more than half of the protein your body needs — no meat in sight.

Of course, your individual protein needs will vary based on factors such as body size, health conditions, and activity level. If you’re not sure how much protein you need, it’s best to speak with your doctor.


Plant-Based Foods With Protein

Here is a list of some plant-based foods that contain high amounts of protein. Use these items to plan your meals and get your protein needs with less meat.


Plant-Based Meal Ideas — Meet Protein Needs With Less Meat

Here are suggestions for what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner without the meat and with all the protein:


Oatmeal with full-fat plain Greek yogurt: Cook up a ½ cup of oatmeal (you’ll get six grams of protein!). Add a dollop of Greek yogurt or sprinkle in some almonds for extra protein.

Seed bread with egg and hash browns: Eggs also contain a lot of protein — there are six grams in one egg. Eat ‘em with a slice of seeded, whole wheat toast. Enjoy a side of hashbrowns for an extra kick of protein from the potatoes.

Banana with peanut butter: For a lighter breakfast, enjoy a banana (1.5 grams of protein) with a generous spoonful of peanut or almond butter.



Rice and beans with broccoli and tofu: Cook up some rice and beans (remember, together they provide a good amount of protein!). Stir fry some broccoli and tofu for other essential vitamins and minerals.

Lentil soup with kale and veggies: For a hearty soup, make your own lentil stew with kale and other extra veggies. Lentils are low in calories and rich in iron and folate.



Quinoa salad with roasted almonds and chickpeas. For a lighter fare that will still keep you full, cook up some quinoa. Add chopped, roasted almonds, chickpeas, and any veggies you like. For an easy dressing, squeeze lemon juice over the salad with a drizzle of olive oil. Add garlic and salt to taste!

A homemade veggie burrito with cheese and beans: Skip your local Mexican joint and make your own burrito with rice, beans, veggies, and cheese. Fun fact: There are nearly 7 grams of protein in one slice of cheese. For even more protein, add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. This is a nice substitute for sour cream.

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