Recommended Protein Intake
Aside from common animal-based proteins such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese and eggs, several plant-based proteins offer low-fat alternatives:
Plant Protein Examples
|Source||Serving Size||Protein (grams)|
|Tempeh||1 cup||31 g|
|Buckwheat||1 cup||23 g|
|Seitan||3 ounces||18 g|
|Lentils||1 cup (cooked)||18 g|
|Edamame||1 cup||17 g|
|Black Beans||1 cup (cooked)||15 g|
|Quinoa||1 cup (cooked)||8 g|
Plant-based proteins can be easily incorporated into meals. For example, quinoa and buckwheat can be served in place of traditional sides such as potatoes or rice; they also can serve as a protein-packed breakfast cereal. Beans and lentils are great protein additions to toss in soups and salads. Other plant-based proteins such as tempeh, seitan and tofu can be cooked as you would meat (broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed) and enjoyed a number of ways.
Quick Seitan Stir-Fry
Seitan is a wheat-based product that’s a great source of lean protein. You can find it at your local health food store.
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
- 4 oz. seitan
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1/2 cup canned water chesnuts, drained and sliced
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet, add garlic and green onion. Sauté about 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients stirring occasionally for the next 8-10 minutes.
Nutritional Information: 295 Calories, 29 g Protein, 11 g Fat, 20 g Carbohydrates
It’s clear that protein supports a multitude of vital functions in the body and is needed in various amounts depending on your stage of life and health circumstances. However, it’s important to keep in perspective that your health status can be affected by a variety of other factors, including lack of exercise, smoking, too little sleep, etc. Pursuing an overall healthy lifestyle that includes a balance of these factors may go much further in your pursuit of better health.
Fulgoni, V. (2008). Current protein intake in America: Analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2004. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 87, 5, 1554S-1557S.
Health and Fitness Expert
Gina Crome is a registered dietitian and ACE Certified Professional. Her career promoting healthy lifestyles developed after losing 172 pounds on her own. For 20 years, Gina’s mission has focused on guiding individuals toward a better quality of life. She holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology as well as a master’s of public health in nutrition from Loma Linda University.