We aren’t vegetarian, but we try to limit meat consumption. I wish I could say it was because I’m concerned about heart health and the impact on the environment, but it’s not at the top of our list, although it is of concern. We do try to cut back on meats where we can, simply because they can be so expensive! (especially when you are trying to buy grass fed, organic for a family of 5)
But the kids need protein! According to the CDC, kids age 1-3 need 13 grams per day, ages 4-8 need 19 grams per day, and ages 9-13 need 34 grams per day. Protein is the basic building block of our entire body! It’s completely necessary to life.
Whatever your reason for cutting back on meat, there are 4 basic categories for plant proteins. The recommendation is 2-4 ounces of meat or beans per day. So the sources of plant proteins are:
Beans: You could mash beans for a dip, include beans into a casserole or one pot dish, add them to soups, or sprinkle beans over salad. Beans contain protein and fiber, as well as other nutrients. Beans average 7-10 grams of protein per 1/2 cup and can be purchased for under $1 per pound.
Nuts: Eat nuts straight out of the bag, crush them for crusted chicken or vegetables, blend them for a spread, or include them in granola. Nuts contain protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. 1/4 cup of almonds contains 8 grams of protein. But nuts are pricey.. My best price for almonds is $3.49 per pound.
Seeds: Seeds are a great snack to add to trail mix, salads, hot cereals, or smoothies. 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds has 8 grams of protein. I can find sesame seeds for $2.49 per pound.
Soy: Soy has been dragged through the mud as a good source of protein. However, like any food, the less processed it is, the better it is for you. Soy can be found in highly processed forms, and definitely should be limited or eliminated. In it’s whole form like soy nuts or Edamame, soy is a great addition to any child’s diet. 1/2 cup of soy beans has 14 grams of protein. I can get a brick of tofu for $1.15.
So, experiment a little with meatless sources of protein. Your pocket book, and your heart will thank you.
I really wanted to have a new recipe for you today, but I’m desperately trying to finish Psyc 365 (ironically titled Motivation), and recipe creating takes so much time. I’ll be back with a new recipe by Friday though, I promise!!