Meat and alternatives are listed as one of the four food groups which are essential to fuel active people’s workouts and training. They are also called protein foods.
How Often Should You Eat Protein?
Daily! The recommendation for protein foods in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern at the 2,000-calorie level is 5½ ounce-equivalents of protein foods per day. For a quick recall: 1 large egg is equivalent to 1 ounce protein food. And 2 tablespoon of peanut butter equivalent to 2 ounces protein food.
Traditionally, lean chicken and lean fish are great ways to stock up on protein. But what about the increasing number of health seekers going vegan and vegetarian? Instead of skipping to eat meat, and avoid protein, they should replace their intake and find healthy alternatives.
What Are Meat Alternatives?
Meat alternatives are high in plant based protein. Think of kidney beans, soy beans, brown beans, chickpeas and lentils. They are additionally high in fiber, low in fat, and a great source of healthy carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Years ago you were considered lucky if you could find tofu in a regular supermarket. Vegans were mainly reduced to eating lots of beans and nuts to meet their protein demands. Luckily times have changed and your average store offers more plant-based meat replacement products than ever.
Bean burgers, beefy non-meat crumbs, meatless balls, grilled tofu, tempeh, quinoa burgers and pulled chunks typically made of beans, soy or pea protein are a few examples.
Is it Important to Substitute Animal-based Protein and Not Just Skip It?
Very active adults going vegan or vegetarian without watching their protein intake are most likely to be deficient. Their regular fueling does not provide them with essential amino acids, which are commonly found in dairy products or meat.
But it is not all about the protein. Foods in the meat and alternatives food group are often good sources of other nutrients such as iron. Iron can help you to transport oxygen in your body, which is not only crucial for endurance athletes.
Fuel Your Activities
With a little awareness, active people can easily meet protein needs without reducing their carbohydrate intake. High protein, low carbohydrate diets are not a good choice for people exercising, since carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy.
Food Guide Canada Website
US Dietary Guidelines Website
Pea Protein Products Website
Vegan Food ALDI Website