Someone asked me the other day how much protein vegetarians get in a day and I couldn’t give an exact answer. I felt like we probably get enough but wasn’t exactly sure how much protein we get in any given day. So I set out to track the amount of protein my family gets in a day.
If you are wanting to try a vegetarian diet but are concerned that you won’t get enough protein or feel “full” enough after your meals, you’ve come to the right place. We are almost vegan in that we don’t drink cows milk or eat yogurt but we will eat cheese. I’m not a huge fan of eggs but will eat them on occasion. I have gotten to the point though if I don’t have them very often I get horrible stomach cramps after I eat them. So I tend to stay away from them. While they are many reasons why we don’t eat meat or most other animal products it’s more of a personal preference than anything else.
I don’t like to buy the soy “meats” either because 1 they look gross. 2 the “meat” looks nothing like its original state. 3 it’s…gross. Ha ha, I don’t have very many good reasons but since one of our reasons for being vegetarian is to have less processed food so why would I think that soy substitutes are any healthier? Besides, since most soy is genetically modified that makes it is hard to believe that there is completely organic soy.
Anyway, moving on…
Men (ages 18-70) on average are supposed to get 56 grams of protein and women (18-70) are supposed to get 46 in a day. Toddlers (age/s 1-3) are supposed to get about 13. Depending on your weight, sex, gender, and the amount of exercise you get makes it different for every person. You can use a protein calculator to figure out how much protein you should get for yourself.
Since I don’t want to disclose my weight *wink* I will use my older son as an example for the protein that he gets in a typical day. Usually I am eating the same thing that he is having because it is easier than making myself something completely different, I just eat more to meet my daily needs.
Let’s get to the grub!
We usually have oatmeal for breakfast. It’s cheap, it’s filling and there are so many ways you can prepare oats! My mother-in-law showed me how to make instant oatmeal. Just blend half of your oats in a food processor and add the other half of whole oats to the blended. Then add your dry ingredients to it and when you want to prepare it, just add hot water and let sit for a few minutes. I like to add cinnamon, nuts and hemp seeds to our instant mix. We also eat whatever fruit we have at the moment as well.
- 1 oz. of pecans – 3 grams
- 1 cup cooked oats – 6 grams
- Hemp seeds – 1 tbsp – 3 grams
- Fruit – 1 gram
Total = 12 grams
Most of the time when I ask my son what he would like for lunch he will ask for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And if you give him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chances are he will ask for some milk to go with it. Sorry had to. Okay, back to lunch. So this is usually what I give him plus some fruits or veggies to go with it.
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter – 7 grams
- 2 slices of whole grain bread – 8 grams (Other half not shown)
- A cup of fruits and veggies – 1 gram
Total = 16 grams
We are a mexican food family. Most every dinner consists of some latino style food. Beans and rice, tacos, burritos, enchiladas…*starts to drool*. The main dish I usually make is beans and rice with veggies on the side. I make a big pot of beans in the pressure cooker and make the rice on the stove. This will last us at least a week.
- 1/2 cup of beans – 8 grams
- 1/2 cup of rice – 2 grams
- 1 cup of peas – 6 grams
- Handful of shredded cheese – 3 grams (not shown here)
Total = 19 grams
And for the grand total! Drum roll, please…
That is just what my toddler gets! Not to mention other snacks he might have that day. My husband and I get a way over this amount because we can consume more. It’s really quite easy to get a good amount of protein with a vegetarian diet.
Other ways to get extra protein…
- Add chia or hemp seeds to baked goods. These little power houses keep their nutritional value even when baked at high temperatures.
- Protein powders are great because you can use them as a flour in muffins, cookies, waffles, pancakes, cakes and more! You can’t completely substitute for flour but can add in the place of up to half a cup of flour because it will make it more dense in the end.
- Surprisingly, nutritional yeast has 2 grams per tablespoon. It has been fortified with all the B vitamins, including B12, which is important for vegetarians and vegans to take since it is not produced by plants and folic acid. I like to add it to pasta sauces, enchilada sauces, mac and cheese. It has a cheesy flavor to it so I don’t usually put it on anything that is a sweeter dish.
- Quinoa is another one of my favorites but my son is repulsed by the texture for the time being so I’ll come back to it in the future. One cup cooked is 10 grams! We usually have about 2 1/2 cups.
I feel better knowing that we easily get the recommended daily amount needed for our bodies to be healthy.
Have questions about becoming a vegetarian? Have other suggestions to add? Feel free to share below!