#NoMeatFridays: When Going Meatless For Lent, Don’t Skip Out on Protein

It can be tricky to figure out what meatless recipes and other options are available when you choose not to eat meat for whatever reason. Meat provides a lot of protein, which is essential to the body in many ways. So if you’re not eating meat, then creative alternatives need to be found.

Protein Power

Protein lends a hand to a lot of bodily functions, including building and repairing muscle. Protein also aids in:

  • Brain function
  • Cell regeneration
  • Increased immune function
  • Healthier hair and skin
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Decreased hunger

Without protein, the body would not function.

Do the Math

So, how much protein is needed each day? There are different ways to figure this out. If you count daily calorie consumption, protein should make up 10 percent of your daily calories.

Another way to figure out how many grams of protein you should have is to take your body weight, cut it in half and subtract 10 (body weight ÷ 2 -10). For example, if you weigh 180 pounds:

180 pounds ÷ 2 = 90
90 – 10 = 80 grams of protein

Here are some great ways to get protein in your diet without eating the meat (this is not a comprehensive list of protein):

  • Fish — salmon, tuna, catfish, halibut, tilapia, orange roughy
  • Seafood — shrimp, oysters, crab, lobster, clams
  • Low-fat dairy — cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, cheese
  • Tofu
  • Quinoa
  • Rice or other whole grains
  • Legumes — chickpeas, beans, black eyed peas, soybeans
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Veggie burgers

As with all foods, be sure to watch your portions, since some protein foods are high in fat as well (nuts for example). It is also worth mentioning that you should watch the sauces that come with some of the foods (like butter with seafood) and be sure to limit those as well.

Do you have a favorite meatless or lent recipe or food? If so I would love to hear!

Photo credit: Chewy Chua

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  1. Angie’s quick and dirty formula for the calculation of protein is accurate when it comes to people within the normal BMI range. Protein needs will vary case by case. Meaning the recommended amount will also vary per person. If someone is underweight, overweight, an athlete or with special health needs or concerns the amount of protein could be different than what this calculation allows. Best thing to do is to verify with a registered dietitian regarding your protein needs. My usual recommendation is some where between 10-20% of calories should come from protein and again would be specific pending on that person.

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