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Let’s Talk Protein

Updated: Feb 5, 2018

Eat Less Meat to avoid dangerous Global Warming scientists say’ - The Guardian – 21 March 2016

‘All change in the aisles to entice us to eat more fruit and veg’ - The Guardian – 21 January 2017

The above two statements have been in the news along with other articles on how China is planning to cut meat consumption by 50% and whether reducing the consumption of meat is possible in the USA. We are constantly being bombarded with what we should be eating due to climate change issues, stocks running low, population growth and the strive to lead a healthier lifestyle.

So, what do we do? Men are recommended to consume 56 g of protein per day for men and women, 46 g per day.

Apart from tasting nice, meat is consumed by non-vegetarians in order to get protein. Protein act as building blocks for our bodies, being a key part of skin, muscles, organs and glands. These all wear out with use. We need a constant supply in order to help our bodies continue rebuilding parts of our bodies that need repairing. Proteins are made up of amino acids and for the most of them our bodies can make them and use them when required. However, there are 9 amino acids that are called essential. This is because our bodies can’t make them or synthase them; therefore, we need them everyday from the food we eat.

Now, you don’t need to start thinking that you need to get these 9 all in one sitting. You can digest them over a course of a 24 hour period. If we are being told to cut down on meat, what can you eat instead in order to get your protein?

Apart from sustainable sources of fish, Vegetarians and Vegans will be happy to tell you that there are a huge variety of foods and exciting combinations that are, not only tasty, but chock full of protein too.

In addition to meat, amino acids are found in milk and milk products, fish and eggs. In the plant and vegetable world, good sources include: legumes, nuts, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, quinoa, soy, nut butters and wheat germ. However, the majority of plant proteins are incomplete because they lack at least one essential amino acid. To highlight, grains supply the essential amino acids missing in legumes and legumes supply the essential amino acids missing in grains. So, it is important that you combine two or more plant sources of protein to make sure that you get all the essential amino acids.

To help you on your way, here are some ideas for healthy meals and snacks that will get you your protein without necessarily having to turn to meat.

Grilled Mackeral (a good source of Omega 3 and Vitamin D) marinated with mixed herbs and lemon and served with cooked quinoa. You can cook the quinoa with stock to add flavour and mix through some veg.

Homemade 3 bean chilli – use broad beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and add in peppers, chilli, mushrooms, passata, cumin and coriandar for a yummy vegetarian twist on chilli con carne

Homemade lentil Dhal with rice.

Marinated tofu with stir fry rice. Now, some of you may start thinking yuck tofu is totally lacking in flavour! However, all you need to do is marinade it in lots of lots of flavour. Tofu sucks up flavour and is lovely and delicate to eat. Try a marinade of ginger, garlic, light soy sauce and teriakyi sauce and then serve with stir fried rice. Tofu is amazing as it is one of the few plant sources that is a fantastic source of protein. It is also a good source of iron and calcium.

For snacks, try having a bowl of almonds on the side in Kitchen to snack on. You get your protein and healthy source of fat, but also almonds are good for your cholesterol.

If you want any more information, please get in contact with Ridgeway Nutrition.

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