Grocery stores across the United States are running low on meat products, partially due to the closing of production facilities but also to paring down employees during the current coronavirus crisis.
The experts at Eat This, Not That! researched the best non-meat alternatives that provide sufficient protein to meet our daily needs. According to national recommendations, we should consume 0.36 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means for a 150-pound person, this would be 54 grams of protein. A 4-ounce portion of meat, chicken, or fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna, has about 28 grams of protein, so you would need about two servings daily to reach the suggested amount.
Rachel Paul, Ph.D., Rd. from College Nutritionist, says:
"Not all foods that contain protein have equal amounts of protein. Some foods primarily consist of protein like meat, chicken, fish, and eggs, while plant-based foods like lentils and beans have fewer grams of protein per weight because they also have carbohydrates."
In other words, you will have to eat more of the plant-based sources of protein to get the required number of grams. Here are some sources:
- Plant-based meat. There are so many options at the grocery store for meat substitutes, including Beyond Burgers, Gardein products, and Impossible Burgers, that it makes sense to try a variety to see which ones your family likes best.
- Eggs. Even though eggs are getting pricey, they are still a great source of protein, Paul says. Two scrambled eggs provide 14 grams.
- Edamame. You can buy these delicious beans fresh, frozen, or even dry-roasted. Paul says that a half cup of fresh or frozen edamame has 8 grams of protein, while 1 ounce of dry-roasted edamame will give you 13 grams.
- Hummus. Chick peas are a great source of protein, and an easy way to enjoy them in your diet is to dip carrots and celery into hummus. One serving, about 1/3 cup, provides 7 ounces of protein, according to Eat This, Not That!
- Greek Yogurt. A 7-ounce container of plain, lowfat Greek yogurt has 20 grams of protein. Adding chopped nuts to the yogurt boosts the protein count even higher.
- Cheese. One ounce of cheese gives you 7 grams of protein for most varieties. You can also shred cheese and mix it into your scrambled eggs for a protein-rich breakfast or lunch.
- Beans with rice. According to Medical News Today, rice and beans separately are incomplete proteins. Eaten together, this classic meal provides 7 grams of protein per cup.
- Potatoes. One large potato offers 8 grams of protein per serving. Top with Greek yogurt and you have a protein powerhouse.
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