Meat-Free Protein Sources

BeansStacey Newsletter PicPost submitted by Stacey Brouk, MS, RD, LD

 

Have you ever heard of Meatless Mondays? Meatless Mondays were started in an effort to encourage the American public to start each week out with healthy and environmentally friendly meat-free meals. If you’d like to learn more about this movement and consider giving it a try, visit http://www.meatlessmonday.com/.

Here at HOAB, we talk a lot about making sure you’re getting enough protein in. Can you still get enough protein in while choosing meatless options? Yes, you absolutely can! There are lots of meat-free protein sources that can help you get the nutrition that you need without meat. Some of the best meat-free protein sources include eggs, low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as milk, yogurt, Greek yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese, beans, nuts, nut butters and soy products, such as tofu, edamame, soy nuts, and soy milk.

By reducing the amount of meat you consume, you reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet, which has shown to have a positive effect on heart health. You often also reduce your caloric intake by choosing meat-free protein sources. CAUTION: This is not always the case. Peanut butter gives you lots of fat and calories for just a little bit of protein.  You can also prepare your beans or tofu with lots of oils or other high-calorie ingredients that can easily raise the calorie content as well, making it not such a great choice.

Taking the idea of Meatless Mondays and turning it into a full-blown vegetarian diet can be healthy for weight loss surgery patients, however it takes a lot of planning to make sure you’re getting the essential nutrition that your body needs. Remember, just because you’re eliminating meats from your diet doesn’t mean that you have more room to incorporate more junk food! Be sure to still focus on getting your protein in first, fruits and vegetables next and everything else comes after that. If you are considering choosing more meatless meals and you need some help getting started, feel free to contact me at Stacey.brouk@hoab.org or 314-776-7112.