Thursday, February 14, 2013

Getting Your Protein From More Than Just Meat

With the increase in my running schedule, I needed to increase my protein and complex carbohydrates as well.  I am not a huge meat eater so I wanted to share my creative ways of increasing proteins with vegetables and legumes. 

Here is a list of Protein Plant Based Foods that are higher in Complex Carbohydrates.
String Beans
Green Juices
Nettle salads
Dried Beans

While I am not a strict vegetarian, I lean more towards a vegetarian diet.  I still eat meat occasionally but in smaller amounts.  So there is always a concern to make sure I am getting enough protein.  Most are not aware of the substantial amount of protein that is found in plant foods.  We generally first think of meats as our primary sources, but plant based diets can easily meet our daily needs.  When you use meats as your protein sources you have higher fats and health effects that come with it, like cholesterol.
So which plant foods give us protein sources?
Grains: It is interesting to know that grains supply half the world's protein.  Grains like quinoa have amino acids that make them comparable to animal origins.  A nice benefit to grains is that they meet our percentages needed for protein and are low in fat, provide iron, zinc, B vitamins, and fiber. 

Legumes: Think of these as your protein powerhouses!  These little beauties carry twice the protein you will find in grains.  There are four advantages to eating legumes over meat; low fat, no cholesterol, high fiber, and greater amounts of calcium.    There are over 13,000 kinds of legumes but a few common varieties you know are chickpeas, peas, lentils, black beans, and soybeans. 

Seeds and Nuts:  While these carry nice amounts of protein they tend to carry larger amounts of fat too.  I like to eat a handful of raw nuts and seeds daily.  When we cut out dairy and meats we tend to lose a source of fats, which can be easily provided in nuts which provide valuable oils.  Nuts can be a fast easy nutritious way to get in protein, fats, along with vitamins and minerals.  You can add these as snacks, butters, and over salads. 

Vegetables: While vegetables are a lower source of protein, they do add protein to your daily needs.  The wonderful bonus to vegetables is that they are low fat, and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. 

As a runner I have to get in more protein than the average person.  While I need to be creative in my protein sources I still want to keep the fat amounts low, the vitamins and minerals high, and the variety tasteful.  These are a few great tasting meals I made this week that provided energy, protein, and needed vitamins and minerals. 

Sprouted Three Bean Salad Recipe
Baked Ziti Meal Recipe.
Brown Rice and Vegetable Soup Recipe
Sausages, Collards, and Cabbage Stew

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  1. It's nice to know of these veggies that have the proteins... sometimes I crave protein.

  2. Wow, thanks for the list! I'm trying to eat more non-meat protein, but it can be hard to remember what has it and to learn to cook new things. I hope that made sense. LOL

  3. We have been eating lots of salads. Glad to know that they are sources of protein too!

  4. Lot's on that list great information, I have been getting more protein then I realized :)

  5. My husband LOVES cabbage. He even eats it raw. Lol!


  6. I love so many of the things on your list but never knew they worked for protein. I can not find a way to eat kale that anyone here likes though, still trying though!

  7. This is such a great list, thanks! We follow the primal diet so it can be hard to find non-meat sources of protein.

  8. Great list! I am bookmarking this!!!