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Protein is an essential element of a healthy, well-balanced diet. In fact, protein makes up a large part of all your body’s cells, which is why it is so important that you get enough each day. And that’s especially true for those following a vegetarian, nearly vegetarian or vegan diet who don’t get their daily requirement from protein-rich sources like meat. The good news is that reaching your daily protein needs doesn’t mean having to include more meat or even any meat all.
Just how much protein do you need on a daily basis? Women need approximately 46 grams and men 56 grams of protein each day. Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers need to add additional protein to their diets. On average, it is recommended that they get 70 grams each day. Athletes and active individuals also require more protein based on the length, frequency and intensity of their workouts, which could mean increasing their protein intake by 50% more than a non-active man or woman.
Nearly every food contains some amount of protein but there are plenty of protein-rich, vegetarian-friendly options out there too. It might surprise you just how much protein there is in some of these healthy, meatless foods.
Jennifer Panicko, RD, LDN at NorthShore, shares some of the best veggie-friendly options to maximize daily protein intake:
What are some of your favorite vegetarian protein sources?