Protein is an essential component in our diets and is commonly associated with meat, such as fish and poultry. While meat is certainly an obvious choice for protein, it’s not always the best, and for those who are vegan or vegetarian it isn’t even an option. For those who choose to follow a meat-free diet, they will need to be more conscious of how they will be supplementing the proteins they would consume if they were to be eating meat.
Further, it is important for those who are carnivores that they are consuming a balanced protein diet. In the era of quick easy meals many don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen and as a result, most of those quick meals picked-up at the grocery store are highly processed carbohydrates. According to the Harvard School of Public Health website article “Nutrition Source: What Should You Eat,” cutting back on processed carbohydrates and raising the amount of protein you take in can help to lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular diseases.
Meaning, it is essential to lower those processed carbohydrates and attempt to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds such as, the types of food that can be found in nature or home grown which, are considered unprocessed carbohydrates. Take advantage of your local farmer’s market. Unlike the fruits and vegetable found at grocery stores which, typically travel thousands of miles to get there, the farmer’s market is comprised of locally grown items that don't leave quite as large of a carbon foot print.
If your farmer’s market isn’t open be conscious of the types of local fruits and vegetables that are in season in your area because they’re most likely the kinds of items that haven’t traveled thousands of miles to sit on your dinner table. Check out this vegetarian protein snack recipe for an edamame (1/2 C. contains 11g of protein) and chickpea salad listed below.
Autumn Chickpea Salad
Toss in a bowl:
2 cups chickpeas, cooked and rinsed
1/2 cup diced bell peppers
1/4 cup diced carrots
Handful dried cranberries
1/4 cup shelled edamame
Whisk together and pour over salad:
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Recipe is compliments of Fit Sugar
Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. Protein. Retrieved Febuary 8, 2012, from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein-full-story/index.html#protein_bottom_line
Jacob, A. (2011, August 3). Examples of Processed Carbs. LIVESTRONG. Retrieved Febuary 8, 2012, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/508694-examples-of-processed-carbs/http://www.livestrong.com/article/508694-examples-of-processed-carbs/