When people find out I am a flextarian, one of the first questions I get is: How do you get enough protein? For some reason, people are under the impression that protein is not in fruits and vegetables and the only way to get it is to eat meat. They are sadly mistaken!
Protein is one of the macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats are the others) and it is important to get enough. Protein is primarily used to build and repair tissue. But if you are under stress or if your carbohydrates are low, protein can also be used for energy. (Source: Total Fitness and Wellness 5th edition, by Scott K. Powers and Stephen L. Dodd)
So how much protein should we eat in a day? According to Healthline, a sedentary woman should eat 46 grams and a sedentary man should eat 56 grams per day. But I know many of my readers are active people, doing their best to do some form of exercise daily.
Turns out when you are active, you need more protein. The formula Healthline shares is 0.5-0.65 grams per pound. That means I would need up to 64 grams per day. While that sounds like a lot, it really isn't that hard to achieve. Especially with a flextarian diet.
Many of my favorite vegetables and beans have high protein content. Check it out below:
Now you know I love sharing recipes! It is always so much fun to find recipes and make them my own. There are plenty of meat-based recipes that can easily be made vegetarian with a few tweaks and substitutions. I love using beans or portobella mushrooms or meat-free crumbles that I find in the supermarket. These are easy substitutions that even meat lovers will enjoy.
Below are vegetarian recipes that are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle. Usually 3-4 days a week I am vegetarian/vegan (sometimes I still use eggs or butter in a recipe) and then the rest of the week I'll eat lean proteins. I have a very hectic weekday schedule so I have to rely on meal prepping on the weekend in order to stay true to flextarianism.
If you try any of the recipes below, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share! If you'd like more healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
I eat overnight oatmeal 3-4 days per week. I find I can do a lot of add-ins that can increase the protein content of the oats. To begin with, steel-cut oats have 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup of dry oats. The recipe is quite simple:
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (adds about 1 gram of protein for almond milk)
Stir in add-in's (ideas below)
Place in refrigerator overnight. You can either eat it cold with fruit on top or warm it up and put fruit on top. I usually top with frozen blueberries - heated up of course!
1 TBSP Nut Butter - adds 3.4 grams of protein for almond butter
1 TBSP Hemp Seeds - adds 5.3 grams of protein
1 tsp Chia Seeds - adds 1 gram of protein
1 tsp sunflower seeds - adds 1 gram of protein
As you can see, you can easily hit 10 grams of protein in overnight oatmeal for breakfast which is a great start to the day. Especially if you worked out in the morning. Here are more great breakfast ideas that are high in protein. Simply click on the title to go to the recipe.
Lunch can be challenging for many of us because in order to eat healthy, we need to make it ahead of time. That becomes tricky when after work, we come home and have to cook dinner as well as get the rest of the household ready for the next day. But with a little planning, lunch can come together quickly. It may mean prepping on the weekend but the results will be worth it. Click on the links below to go to the recipes:
Getting everyone in the house to agree to a vegetarian dinner may be difficult. But start off slowly. Do one dinner a week for 4-6 weeks. Then add a second dinner every other week. Before you know it, it will be so routine that everyone in the house will not notice! It only takes 21 days to create a habit (good or bad). Click on the links below to go to the recipes:
I hope you are inspired to eat more plant-based foods after learning you can get plenty of protein from vegetables and seeing some fun recipes for anytime of day. If you try any of the above, let me know what you thought. I love hearing how the recipes I share turned out for you. If you want more recipes to try, follow my blog on Bloglovin.