Going meatless is healthy and fairly simple


If the words 'meatless protein' make you cringe, hold it. Even if you have no desire to become a vegetarian, setting aside one meatless day every week can have great health benefits. Have no fear, this is not an ode to tofu. You can get protein from a lot of other different- and tasty- foods.

It may seem like a pain the neck to find substitutes, but going meatless has a couple of perks we can all benefit from, say Hurley dietician Joanna Sheill.

"It's a lot easier, yes, to get protein from meat sources. That's the easiest way, but it does save you money to eat meatless meals, and we are usually eating more vegetables wtih meatless meals."

Joanna says the key is making vegetables a priority in your meatless meal plan, "Sometimes our meatless meals can be very heavy in carbs and fats, so just make sure you are being conscious of having a balanced meal."

Bonus! Some veggies actually have a little protein in them, and mix very well with key meat substitutes, like beans.

"Beans are a great one, " Joanna says, "We made a black bean veggie quesidilla before. So, that was completely meatless. But you're getting your protein with the black beans, the cheese. And you're still getting a good, solid meal."

Don't be afraid to go a little nuts, either. Nuts and nut butters are great sources of both healthy fats and protein.

So are seeds. Toss them into salads and smoothies.

Hemp seeds, Joanna says, are an especially good choice, "They also give you ten grams of protein per serving."

Some popular dairy products also pack a protein punch, especially greek yogurt.

Joanna says cottage cheese is another good choice, "Cottage cheese! Even if you are doing a spaghetti meal, you can add some cottage cheese in there and that will up the protein."

What about using protein powders, like the ones people often put in smoothies?

Joanna says, use caution, "A lot of your protein powders can have a lot of sugar, so just watch that."

Joanna says you should aim for about 15 to 20 grams of protein per meal.

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