Going vegetarian one day per week has become more and more popular throughout the United States.
According to meatlessmonday.com, going meatless once per week can reduce one’s risk of chronic preventable conditions such as cardiovascular disease, the top cause of death among men and women, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
It also has environmental benefits, including limiting water usage and reducing one’s carbon footprint.
A concern of many is that if they eliminate meat for a day or more they will not have enough protein in their diet.
However, there are plenty of vegetarian-friendly protein sources that can be included throughout the day to make sure we get the recommended amount.
Eggs have six grams of protein each and are a complete protein, meaning they have all the essential amino acids bodies need.
Pumpkin seeds have seven grams of protein per one ounce. They can be added to a salad or yogurt, or be eaten as part of trail mix.
Greek yogurt has 15 grams of protein per six ounces. It comes in a variety of flavors and is great as a snack or as part of a meal.
Peanut butter has eight grams of protein per two tablespoons. It’s a great source of protein, but use it in moderation. It also contains a lot of fat and calories.
Other sources include cottage cheese, which has 13 grams of protein per ½ cup. You can mix in some cut-up fresh fruit for a high-protein, low-calorie snack.
Beans have about 12 grams of protein per cup. They can be mixed with rice, added to a salad, or be part of a soup.
Almonds have 6 grams of protein per ounce. They also contain the healthy monounsaturated fats that have been shown to reduce cardiac disease.
Quinoa has 8 grams per cup. It has become more and more popular and can now be found frequently in menu items in restaurants. It can be cooked and used just like rice in recipes. ••
Kirsten Diegel is a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist who works as a clinical dietitian for Wesley Enhanced Living.