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RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/6/14 11:43 A

Interesting way to look at the problem Algebragirl.

Let me re-post the link, so people can click on it.

2/6/14 10:56 A

I second the notion on fish. I bought a bag of pre-portioned, individually-frozen mahi-mahi pieces, about 4 oz. each, and they're very versatile and surprisingly high in protein, for not many calories. You can use any kind of mild white fish in in the same ways.

I would also try to use more tofu. 20 grams of protein for a half-cup? That's a bargain on the index of calories per grams of protein. It's also very versatile, taking on the flavors of whatever you cook with it. It's like a blank canvas awaiting culinary creativity. :)

The original poster is clearly asking for suggestions on how to get more protein while remaining mostly-vegetarian (which to most of us means not meat), and dairy is not an option.
Add some fish or tofu and more beans and you'll be doing well.

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
2/6/14 10:55 A

If you're familiar with the nutritiondata ( screening tool, you can screen all the foods in a huge database, looking for foods highest in protein and lowest in calories.

Any category of food that yields results is at the top and you can click on that category to find all the foods. There are no meats that fit the criteria, and 1 shellfish - which I don't think you even want to taste! - and lots of vegetables There is dairy.

KENDILYNN SparkPoints: (22,924)
Fitness Minutes: (24,670)
Posts: 2,738
2/6/14 10:43 A

I've found lots of recipes using beans in different ways, so it doesn't get so boring eating them nearly every day. I've made black bean and quinoa burgers that are much tastier and more natural, in my opinion, than commercial veggie burgers. Chick peas are great in sir fry and curries, or even roasted and seasoned. Last night I made vegan lentil "meat" loaf that my omnivorous kids and husband gobbled up. My seven y/o even took the leftovers in her lunch box. And nearly all the ingredients came from the dollar store! I get a lot of my recipes from Pinterest these days, and "follow" a number of blogs/posters who share my food style. Hope it helps.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/6/14 10:27 A

Here's a link for high protein foods:

and since you have some limitations, I understand that you might benefit the most from this part, so I will just show that, and let you look at the total list if you wish to, since it is a list for low carbers, who have no limitations on most protein, so some may not apply to you.

I thought you might appreciate the listing of how much protein is in each food.

Beans (including soy)

Tofu, ½ cup 20 grams protein
Tofu, 1 oz, 2.3 grams
Soy milk, 1 cup - 6 -10 grams
Most beans (black, pinto, lentils, etc) about 7-10 grams protein per half cup of cooked beans
Soy beans, ½ cup cooked – 14 grams protein
Split peas, ½ cup cooked – 8 grams

Nuts and Seeds

Peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons - 8 grams protein
Almonds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
Peanuts, ¼ cup – 9 grams
Cashews, ¼ cup – 5 grams
Pecans, ¼ cup – 2.5 grams
Sunflower seeds, ¼ cup – 6 grams
Pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup – 8 grams
Flax seeds – ¼ cup – 8 grams

A few of these, along with whatever fish, fowl, meat, or eggs, you DO add to your diet should be plenty. Plus, you will get some in your vegetables, as others have said.

Here is a list of high protein veggies with amounts of protein.

Good luck with reaching your proper protein levels, and hope some of this helps you.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,142)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,764
2/6/14 8:00 A

Support is intended to you CAPRISONYA, honest support, which I believe is what we benefit from and what we come to these boards to receive.
Renata, I am scanning again in her post to find where it says "they don't want to eat much meat" and am still unable to find it. I see where she states she has moved away from it as the centerpiece and I DO see where she states she wants to avoid powders and seeds; hence my suggestions for adding more natural proteins.
I stand by my response and hope you feel free to not read or reply to my responses in the future if you feel unable to address me in a respectful manner. I wish you well. God bless.

Edited by: MICHELLEXXXX at: 2/6/2014 (08:16)
NIRERIN Posts: 14,247
2/6/14 7:26 A

i first have to ask how accurately are you tracking? when i started tracking my protein was in the 30s as well. but then i took a closer look. all the generic foods that i was actually eating had a gram or two more protein than what was in the name brand that i was using to track because it was already in the tracker. a gram or two in a food doesn't sound like much but when it was ten to twenty foods a day it really added up. and when i started entering the foods i was actually using, i was at about 55 g protein a day instead of 30 g. so do make sure that you're using spark entered entries as opposed to user entries [so many people just enter calories and maybe carbs] and that if you're using the generic target crackers that you've actually entered those in instead of using the wheat thins entry. the difference can really add up.
the second thing is how many total calories are you getting? because if you're getting only 20 g protein a day and you're accurately tracking my guess would be that you're eating well below your ranges. the tortilla chips [not a great source of protein in the least] i have are 140 cals with 3 g protein so if you ate 1200 cals of just those that would get you to 25 g protein.
also if you share your tracker or a typical day [and don't do "breakfast: oatmeal" do "breakfast: 1/4 cup dry oatmeal, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 cup berries" or whatever it happens to be]. the more we know about what you eat, the better suggestions we can give you to how to tweak what you're already doing.
offhand a cup of broccoli has a few grams of protein and so does a 100 g potato. steam the broccoli, bake the potato and add a little sauce of your choice and you have a snack for under 150 cals with at least 5 g protein. cook up 1/4 cup of lentils to mix with the broccoli ans sauce [curry perhaps?] and that 1/4 cup of lentils will get you another 9 g protein, so you're up to 14 g protein for around 200 cals. a half ounce of pasta has about 3.5 g protein and 100 cals. frozen mixed vegetables have 70 cals and 3 g protein in a serving. 100 cals of beans has somewhere between 4 and 8 g protein depending on the kind. so a half ounce of pasta with a half cup of beans and two servings of frozen mixed vegetables is going to be about 340 cals with 18 g protein. figure in 60 cals for a sauce of some sort and you're still only 400 cals for almost 20 g protein.

Edited by: NIRERIN at: 2/6/2014 (07:29)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
2/6/14 7:07 A

"Suggestions? Eat more meat, eggs, dairy, etc."

I find this rude as a suggestion to someone who says they don't want to eat much meat. It also indicates you may not have actually read the post, since the person has a dairy sensitivity and plainly cannot eat more of that.

CERTHIA SparkPoints: (22,539)
Fitness Minutes: (16,207)
Posts: 770
2/6/14 5:06 A

I eat meatless several days most weeks, and I also avoid dairy (allergies). I seldom have issues meeting my protein requirement here on SP. (I've been sick lately, so please disregard my tracker for the last week..)

For protein I eat whole-wheat pasta and breads, oatmeal, rice, lentils, chickpeas, chia, quinoa, kidney beans, green beans, tofu, soy yogurt, soy milk, eggs, egg whites, fish eggs, salmon, cod, haddock, lean beef, lean ham, chicken. I also eat nuts and seeds (too bad you can't, they are tiny nutritional powerhouses) and also vegetables that are higher in protein like sweet peas, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and avocados.

Unlike you, I like to add some rice protein powder or egg white powder to my smoothies, and I sometimes eat NuGO Organic bars. (They are convenient, filling and vegan). I can easily still cover my protein needs without doing so, but that would require more cooking.

My favorite snack is dried codfish. 30g provides me 25 g protein for less than 100 calories. It's very high in sodium though, so it's not for everyone.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,142)
Fitness Minutes: (5,920)
Posts: 3,764
2/6/14 3:33 A

Suggestions? Eat more meat, eggs, dairy, etc. I went from complete vegan to 100g minimum protein daily. I used canned chicken breast, tuna, and packets of salmon a lot at first because I was always on the go with school and work and family.

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (246,790)
Fitness Minutes: (41,336)
Posts: 26,775
2/6/14 3:21 A

Below is a link to the article: "How to Meet Your Protein Needs without Meat"
A Guide to Vegetarian Protein Sources

I am sure that you will get loads of really good ideas from there :-)


RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
Posts: 1,379
2/5/14 9:16 P

1/3 to 2/3 of the minimum? Yikes, that really is low. Although make sure that you are doing macronutrient breakdowns of everything you eat, not just the "obvious" protein, because there's protein in most whole foods. Even a banana has a gram or two.

Assuming that you do that (or are already doing that) and still come up low:

-- eggs, of course.
-- MORE beans and other legumes (and lentils). Try to have every meal that is not based on meat, dairy or eggs include some of this stuff, because it's pretty much the highest protein-content plant food that there is.
-- grains or quinoa. Quinoa is good; and wheat has more protein than rice does, so that could help you. I'm not sure where oats fit in, if that's a breakfast option you happen to like.
-- tofu's fine, but not mandatory; I hardly eat it myself. (And I'm a near-vegetarian much like you describe yourself as being)
-- If you like or eat cereal, oatmeal, etc, then all of the plant-based "milks" have some protein in them and could be added, with the soy having I think the most and the rice the least.
-- hummus (made mostly from chickpeas. I've been addicted to this stuff for a while, currently in the company of raw broccoli, but other vegetables or crackers are also nice with it)
-- Nuts and nut butters have some protein, so if you're short, increase the amount of these things you eat.

Once you decide what kinds of things you want to eat in moderate to large amounts, rank it all according to how much protein it offers and increase the amount of higher-protein stuff within a category while decreasing the foods with less of it.

It shouldn't actually be very difficult; it's just that Americans and most people who eat like Americans aren't accustomed to putting together meals that have no meat and no dairy, so it takes some effort to learn a new way of doing things. As you've seen, "what I normally eat minus the meat" doesn't always work so well.

Look up vegetarian and especially vegan recipes (vegetarian will include a lot of dairy) to give yourself ideas.

Edited by: RENATARUNS at: 2/5/2014 (21:26)
ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
2/5/14 8:57 P

Egg beaters. quorn. non-fat cottage cheese, Greek non-fat yogurt. Chorizo-flavored Tofurky (fries up like ground beef; I add it to tomatoes and seasonings and eat it with spaghetti.) To me, tofurky and quorn are real food and I like them better than the ground beef or chicken (the textures they have).

There are some excellent vegetarian cookbooks that give the nutrtiional information for their recipes. The Millenium Cookbook is a good one, and it's vegan - still, the recipes are great. It's San Francisco's very successful vegan restaurant. See the Candle Cafe Cookbook for recipes from a New York City restaurant. Just enjoy the delicious food and go for the higher protein counts. What you can't stomach (casein), skip or have in a small amount, maybe as part of a larger dish. What you just don't like right now or feel insecure using, have in a good recipe because cooking and recipes are going to make a difference.

A quick look at amazon will show you some amazing cookbooks. Start with one that looks intriguing, and have the library borrow it using their interlibrary loan system if they can. I'm guessing there's already quite a collection of vegetarian cookbooks on the shelf at the library.

Asian food cookbooks. (Japanese, to start!)


Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 2/5/2014 (22:40)
BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/5/14 8:54 P

How about fish? Canned tuna is easy on the calories, and packed with protein. Seafood such as jumbo shrimp aka prawns, are also really good protein and low-cal.

Eggs (or just-egg-whites)? Very handy for breakfast, a good high-protein start to the day. Also handy for lunch (hard boiled eggs transport well).

Vegetables do contain some protein, and most veg are not-too-high-cal, so adding more veg at every opportunity will boost your protein without sending your calorie count too high.

Avocados have a surprising amount of protein - but portion control is needed on these, as they are rather calorie dense.

Also, if you are still eating meat just "not as a center-point" - why not just plan to sneak an ounce or two of meat into whatever-you're-eating, one meal per day... you don't need much meat to really boost up the protein in a hurry. I personally find it challenging to get the 60+ grams of protein i'm supposed to be getting each day on 1200-ish calories of non-meat foods - it's a lot easier to do on 1800 calories, but, that's "maintenance" for me and I'm still trying to lose, so... even though, like yourself, I have reduced my reliance on meat as the "showcase" of the plate, i take the path of least resistance and continue to eat meat, albeit in much reduced portions, most days.

CAPRISONYA SparkPoints: (24,635)
Fitness Minutes: (49,336)
Posts: 81
2/5/14 8:08 P

To clarify things, I am not a vegetarian. I have no moral objections to meat and I do eat it, but lately, I've moved away from using meats as the center-point of my meals. Lately, they've been more in the nature of garnish or added flavoring. I do eat beans (though I've yet to learn how to cook them, so I've been buying them canned) and legumes, but not tofu, and I can't stomach most seeds--pretty much all of them cause digestive problems. I also can't have much dairy (one small serving a day, otherwise bad things happen. Casein intolerance; not lactose).

So, with all that, I am having a real problem getting enough protein. I usually get 1/2 to 2/3 of what the tracker here recommends. Anyone have good ideas other than protein powders/shakes? I want to stay away from artificial stuff and get it all from actual food. Peanut butter in my morning oatmeal and some beans with dinner seems to just not be enough...

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