Veggie Loaded Baked Potato from our PURE FOUR Challenge
Do you ever feel pressure to live up to the amount of protein everyone seems to be consuming? Don’t get us wrong, we love protein. Protein keeps you feeling fuller, longer. Plus, it has the highest thermic effect compared to carbohydrate and fat. We love making protein bites. But, we aren’t big on adding powder to everything! You may be relieved to know, that we may not need as much as we think we do.
The Dietary Reference Intake for protein currently is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The average sedentary male should have around 56 grams of protein and the average sedentary female around 46 grams per day. Now, this reference can be controversial among among professionals. Especially, in the fitness industry. Many claim this is a basic level need, the bare necessities to prevent a deficiency. So you must take into account different needs, body mass, level of physical activity, and goals.
Based on this recommendation, the average American consumes twice as much protein as recommended! That is around 100 grams of protein every day. What can we say, Americans love their meat. In 2012, the meat and poultry production in the U.S. reached 93 billion pounds.
Most people think about meat when they hear the word protein. However, there are many ways to get protein besides meat. Plant-based foods can give you just as much protein as animal-based foods. For example, in one cup of chickpeas there are 39 grams of protein, which is about the equivalent as a 4 ounce steak. That’s crazy! Other high protein plants are beans, edamame, tofu, lentils, chia seeds, peanut butter, broccoli, spinach and quinoa. When eating plant proteins, it’s important to eat a variety, because most of them aren’t complete proteins by themselves.
Eating more plant-based proteins can be better on your health as well as your wallet. It’s cheaper to buy a can of beans than it is to buy a cut of meat. An easy way to start lessening your meat consumption is to participate in Meatless Monday’s. We try to do this in our homes.
In the end, meat (made from animals that were treated well) is still a nutritious source of protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. Researching, discussing, and learning from all eating ideologies supports our notion of moderation and balance in all things. Just remember that there are other ways to get your protein! Aim to try other foods to get your protein in as well.