#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 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
- Rice or other whole grains
- Legumes — chickpeas, beans, black eyed peas, soybeans
- 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