If you’re a vegetarian, you’ve heard the question.
If you know a vegetarian, you’ve probably asked the question.
“Where do you get your protein?”
I’ve been a non-meat eater for almost two years, and within the first few months I had already lost count of how many times I had been asked this.
I’m sure the question is usually asked out of concern, and I’m sure it will continue to be asked. But for all my curious readers, I will try to give you a sufficient answer.
First, it is important to determine just how much protein we actually need.
So, for an average eater who consumes about 2,000 calories a day, we need to determine how many grams of protein he or she requires. Keep in mind that a gram of protein is approximately four calories, and the U.S. recommended daily allowance for grams of protein is an average of .36 grams per pound of bodyweight, according to an article published by the The Journal of American Medical Association

Take your weight and multiply it by the daily average of protein.

Here’s mine: 110 pounds x .36 grams = about 40 grams of protein per day.

Next question is: what does 40 grams of protein even look like?

For breakfast:

1. Soy milk cans contain up to eight grams of protein per cup. It’s a great milk alternative in breakfast smoothies, oatmeal or cereal.
2. Greek yogurt can be used for smoothies as well, or parfaits in the morning. A serving of 6 ounces contains between 15 and 20 grams of protein.

For lunch:

1. Kidney beans can be used in soups and chilies and tossed into salads. Two cups of kidney beans contain about 26 grams of protein.
2. Chickpeas are another type of bean that are typically used to make hummus. One cup of chickpeas will make a small serving of hummus and contains about 14 grams of protein.

For dinner:

1. Quinoa is a grain that can be used in dishes as a replacement for rice, used in soups or tossed with vegetable stir fry. There are eight grams of protein per half cup.
2. Tofu is a vegetarian favorite that scares a lot of meat-eaters. This meat substitute can be seasoned, sauteed, grilled and marinated, and it contains approximately 20 grams of protein per half cup. No wonder it’s a vegetarian necessity.

There are many healthy ways to add protein to our diets. Chia seeds, nuts and nut butters, green peas and, of course, eggs, are all high in protein.

The trick is to know how much we need. Where to get it is actually easy..