I feel like I could go ON and ON about protein and how important it is for us to eat enough of it and making sure we have some at each meal and snack,
Why is protein so important you might ask????
To reminisce and go back to Sophomore year BIO 101: Protein is the building block of life. Which means that to build muscle, make skin and blood cells, maintain bone strength and all things renewing in our bodies we need adequate protein. Mowing down all of your protein at one or two meals is not going to do you any good. Our bodies only absorb 20-30g of protein at one time (think one chicken breast the size of a deck of cards) and the rest just ends up in the toilet (literally).
When someone says “protein”, what do you think about? Do you picture a hamburger, a ribeye steak, some eggs, a chicken, maybe a glass of milk? These foods all share two things in common: they are high in protein and they also come from animals. I like to think of myself as an everythingaterian (should I coin that?). There is no food group that I won’t eat. Meat, fish, dairy, “gasp” white sugar.. it’s all fair game. With that being said, I very intentionally include PLENTY of fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, and whole grains in my diet.
When you think about foods such as beans, lentils, quinoa, peanut butter, or tofu do you just want to scream “PROTEIN”? If you don’t, you should! In an effort to eat more plants, incorporating meatless meals into our diets is a good place to start. One meal a week, one meal a day, or choosing to go one whole day without eating meat can force us to A: include more plants in our diet and B: try new things (because if you haven’t tried it, how do you know you don’t like it????).
As a self-proclaimed everythingterian, I am no expert in developing recipes with plants as the protein star. However, I do know a group of dietitians who ARE experts in this area and they have been kind enough to let me share some of their star protein packed meatless dishes.
All of the following recipes:
- Are easy to make ( a few may require more steps, but by planning ahead they can still be made quickly).
- Have no crazy off the wall ingredients. You will not have to travel to a health food store to find any of the ingredients. You can find everything you need at either your local grocer or a big box such as Meijer or Walmart.
- May even have appeal to meat-loving family members.
- Have been created by Registered Dietitians.
15 Protein PAcked Plant based dishes
- Freekeh and Black Bean Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing Triad to Wellness
- Crunchy Lentil Tacos W.Avocado Feta Guacamole E.A Stewart Spicy RD Nutrition
- Tomato and White Bean Naan Pizza Amy Gorin Nutrition
- Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs Byte Sized Nutrition
- Greens & Beans Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms Emily Kyle Nutrition
- The Best Easy Vegan Lasagna Hummusapien
- Vegan Buddha Bowl Erica Julson
- Zucchini Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Crema Kara Lydon The Foodie Dietitian
- 30 Minute Spicy Lentil Bolognese C it Nutritionally
- Slow Cooker Pesto Minestrone Soup Bite of Health Nutrition
- Southwest Stuffed Peppers RDelicious Kitchen
- Thai Tempeh Noodle Skillet Sharon Palmer The Plant-Powered Dietitian
- Lentil Taco Burgers Eat Real Live Well
- Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu Erica Julson
- Smoky Chipotle Sofritas Tacos Street Smart NutritionI Challenge you to try at least ONE meatless meal this week! If you try any from the above 15, be sure to let me as well as the dietitian who created the recipe know how it was!