Why are proteins important?
There are many protein benefits. Protein is needed for cell growth and repair, muscle function, nerve and immune function and so is an important part of all diets. Protein comes from a wide variety of animal and plant-based foods and meeting your protein needs while following a vegetarian diet is easier than it may seem.
How much protein?
All adults need protein and the current recommendations in Australia and New Zealand suggest aiming for 15% – 25% of your daily energy needs from protein. This is roughly 75 – 126g a day for an average person, however this will increase or decrease depending on your energy needs (if you ever find yourself wondering if you’re getting too much protein, you can use the above as a guide).These recommendations don’t change for those following a vegetarian diet.
Do I need to combine proteins?
Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids, our body can make some but there are nine of these amino acids you need to get from food as our body can’t make them. Protein from animal sources such as meat and dairy have all these amino acids. Meanwhile only a few plant proteins have all these amino acids in one food (think soy or quinoa). For this reason, people used to think you had to combine certain plant proteins in each meal to get all the right amino acids. However, this hasn’t proven to be the case as the body keeps a small reserve of amino acids and combines them itself with dietary amino proteins. What is important though is eating a varied diet across the days and week.
List of Vegetarian Proteins:
- Tofu, tempeh
- Baked beans
- Kidney beans
- Black eyed beans
- Butter beans
- Cannellini beans
- Soybeans (also called edamame)
Protein on Jenny Craig
At Jenny Craig, all our menus are based on the current dietary guidelines and meet the 15-25% of energy from protein recommendation. This includes our vegetarian menus!
If you’re a vegetarian (or simply want to eat less meat) looking to lose weight, our vegetarian menus are a great option that provides a variety and adequate protein while losing weight.
For more vegetarian information and recipes click here!