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Vegetarian Protein

Posted on 06/12/2013

Vegetarian protein is often misunderstood, so I thought I'd share with you a recent question our registered dietitian received from one of our vegetarian clients. It relates to our plan and if it supplies enough complete protein for the vegetarian client. 

Many believe that we need to eat certain plant foods together to make 'complete' proteins, but it is not necessary to do so in every meal. Our bodies break down all protein into amino acids and store these amino acids for later use. These amino acids pair up as complete proteins and are used in the body when necessary.  Eating a variety of foods (which our vegetarian plan of course offers) every day is essential for this process to happen, but it is not necessary to pair proteins at every meal. However, keep in mind that many of the meal combinations we offer supply these 'complementary' amino acids, i.e. complete proteins. Also, because this is a vegetarian diet (not a vegan diet), and our plan offers some animal products like cheese and eggs that provide complete proteins.

There are a couple of plants that offer complete proteins, such as soy and quinoa that we serve on our 5-week menu rotation several times. Anything made from soy has complete proteins and we serve tofu and soy products including edamame. Soy milk also provides complete proteins in the same way that cow's milk does and can be a great alternative to cow's milk. 

Americans, including vegetarians, are not at risk for protein deficiency. In fact, most Americans consume about twice the amount of protein than what they actually need. Most of this is animal protein and with that comes excess saturated fat. Eating a
vegetarian diet cuts back on the saturated fat consumption significantly. 

Our vegetarian plan offers 20% of total daily calories from protein, and the current recommendation for protein intake is 10-20% of total daily calories. So, as you can see our offerings are more than adequate in this area. 

Rest assured, the Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating vegetarian plan offers a variety of healthy proteins to meet your nutritional needs!


Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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