Friday, March 21, 2014

Vegetable Proteins

Here at daycare, we eat mostly vegetarian.  With the exception of some tuna or deli meat from time to time, it's veggies for us.  But where's the protein?  Lisa Leake, author of the blog 100 Days of Real Food said it best, in regards to the meals she packed for her children's lunches,  when she said "no one's ever heard of someone having protein deficiency."  Why?  Because there are lots of ways to get protein without meat.  Here's her full opinion on protein.

Ok, so feeling better already.  But still having trouble when making meals that are well rounded? Here's how I plan our meals.  I think of a main dish I want to make.  Then I think, does it contain protein, grain, dairy or vegetables?  If so, cross those off the list.  If not, add a side.  Then add some fruit and a glass of milk or water.  Voila!  Easy balanced meal.

Remember that some items are both proteins and dairy like milk and cheese.  Or both vegetables and proteins like broccoli or legumes.  Items can be dairy in one meal and protein in another meal of you want.  Shoot for half a plate of fruits and vegetables, 1/4 a plate of protein and 1/4 plate of grain plus a glass of milk.

So what else besides peanut butter and cheese count as a protein?  Here's a great list of proteins found in plant food:

Some of my other quick go to proteins are yogurt, egg, cheese, hummus, and nuts (though be careful to chop or grind nuts for smaller children.)

Have fun with your meal planning.  I hope this makes meals easier for you and your child as well as quicker and less costly.  It's been said that making just one family meal a week vegetarian can do great things for you health, immunity and even weight loss.  


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