Eggs, cheese, milk, nuts and soy are all good alternatives to meat
protein. The key to superior protein sources lies in the amount of
essential amino acids contained in the food. It is important, when
avoiding meat products, to make sure that you include a variety of
protein sources in your diet to obtain all the necessary amino acids.
The following links provides some good overviews:
From BBC Health
"Proteins consist of smaller units called amino acids, which can link
together in many combinations to form chains. Some amino acid chains
are created by your body, but those called essential amino acids must
come from your diet. Although all animal and plant cells contain some
protein, the amount and the quality of the protein varies a lot."
"High biological value foods contain enough indispensable amino acids
for an adult diet and are considered to be good quality protein. Meat,
fish and eggs sit in this category."
"Low biological value foods don't contain enough indispensable amino
acids. Plant foods, such as pulses, nuts and seeds, are in this
A good article on protein sources is available from the Harvard School
of Public Health.
See "Protein: Moving Closer to Center Stage
All protein isn't alike:
"Some of the protein you eat contains all the amino acids needed to
build new proteins. This kind is called complete protein. Animal
sources of protein tend to be complete. Other protein sources lack one
or more amino acids that the body can't make from scratch or create by
modifying another amino acid. Called incomplete proteins, these
usually come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts."
"Vegetarians need to be aware of this. To get all the amino acids
needed to make new protein - and thus to keep the body's systems in
good shape - people who don't eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy
products should eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day."
Also scroll down to the Protein Table - "Dietary Sources of Protein"
You might want to take a look at the following site:
Healthy eating for vegetarians."
"Many years ago it was thought that since most vegetarian sources of
protein do not contain all the eight essential amino acids in the
right proportions it was necessary to combine different vegetarian
sources at each meal to produce a ?complete protein?. However, it is
now understood that since the body holds a short term pool of amino
acids there is no need to worry about complementing amino acids all
the time so long as the diet is a varied and a well balanced one. Good
vegetarian sources of protein include beans, lentils, nuts, seeds,
grains, soya products, dairy products and eggs."
"What are the best protein foods?
"Perhaps the fairest and most practical way of rating protein foods is
to look at the amount of protein in relation to the total calories in
a food. The following chart will show you how to get enough protein
without overdosing on fat."
Protein Food Grams of Protein per serving Percentage of calories as
protein Fish, tuna (4 oz) 25-30 83% Egg white (1) 3.5 82% Cottage
cheese, nonfat (1/2 c.) 15 75% Poultry, breast, no skin (4 oz) 25 75%
Kidney beans (1/2 cup) 7 60% Tofu, firm (3 oz) 13 45% Yogurt, plain
nonfat (1 cup) 12 40% Beef, lean (4 oz) 30 40% Egg, whole (1) 6 33%
Milk, 1% (8 ounces) 8 32% Peanut butter (2 tbsp.) 8 17% Cereal (1 cup)
with 1/2 c. milk 6-8 17% Nuts or sunflower seeds (oz.) 7 16% Pasta (1
cup) 7 15% Whole wheat bread (1 slice) 3 15%
THE MOST POWERFUL PROTEINS:
"Some proteins are more powerful than others. What makes one protein
more powerful than another is not only whether it contains all the
essential amino acids, but how many different amino acids it contains.
That's why nutritional scientists use the Protein-Energy Ratio (PER)
and Biological Value (BV) ratings of proteins, which measure how well
the body utilizes amino acids in a protein. Here's how the main
proteins rate (from highest to lowest) by how well they are utilized
in the body."
Whey protein (the lactalbumin extract from dairy proteins found in
protein supplements; also the predominant protein in human milk)
Legumes (e.g., beans, lentils)
I hope you find this information helpful!
are vegetarian proteins a healthy alternative to meat protein?
alternative protein sources to meat