A lot of vegetarians and vegans out there cringe when they hear this statement, and for very good reason. It is definitely true that animal proteins give us the biggest bang for our buck in the protein department. However, truth be told – most Australians, particularly men, eat too much protein – especially red meat, which is associated with an increased risk of bowel cancer.
For the general Australian population, we need roughly 50-80g protein per day. This can be easily achieved by including plant-based protein foods in each meal (and snack) –such as legumes (chickpeas, lentils), soy products (tofu, edamame, tempeh), nuts/seeds.
So lets me what a day could look like for a vegan:
- Breakfast – 200g soy yoghurt with fruit, granola (oats, seeds & nuts) + 1 small soy latte – 25g protein
- Lunch – 2 slices of toast with 200g tin baked beans – 15g protein
- Dinner – Tofu (200g) and vegetable stir-fry with 1 cup cooked brown rice – 30g protein.
= 70g protein achieved – and I haven’t even added snacks in.
What does 10g protein look like?
|Animal products||Plant products|
|30-40g lean beef/chicken||100g tofu/tempeh/edamame|
|50g grilled fish||200g lentils/legumes|
|2 eggs||60g nuts/seeds|
|250ml milk||250ml soy milk|
|200g yoghurt||200g soy yoghurt|
|30g hard cheese or 70g cottage||100g Edamame|
Putting protein aside, there are other key nutrients that animal products provide that are a little tricker to meet through a plant-based diet – particularly B12 and iron. If yourself or a friend/family member if following a plant-based diet, it may be beneficial to check in with a nutrition expert such as an accredited practising dietitian to ensure your diet is providing all the key nutrients for optimal health.