For many, the Lenten season means meatless Fridays. And of course going meat-free entirely is an everyday lifestyle for vegetarians and vegans. But some of the foods touted as great sources of protein aren’t always that great –some have far more carbs or fat than protein. In today’s Love it, Like it, Hate it, we’re Getting the Skinny with Molly on her top picks and worst bets when it comes to protein swap-outs.
Beans (e.g. black beans, red beans, lentils, No Salt Added Blue Runner Red Beans)
- Per cup, cooked: 250 cals – 35 mg sodium – 45 grams carbs – 15 grams fiber – 18 grams protein
- Added bonus: Beans – particularly red beans – are rich in antioxidants
- Per 3 ounces: 90 calories – 380 mg sodium – 3 grams carbs – 1 gram fiber – 18 grams protein
- What it is: Meat-free alternative made from wheat gluten. More similar to texture of meat; takes on flavors of whatever seasonings are used. Seitan can be grilled, baked, pan-fried. Available plain or pre-marinated in flavors like curry, BBQ, and teriyaki.
- Per burger: 90 calories – 320 mg sodium – 7 grams carbs – 6 grams fiber – 17 protein
- Per cup, cooked: 225 cals – 13 mg sodium – 40 grams carbs – 5 grams fiber – 8 grams protein
- Has 5x more carbs than fiber
- Compared to red beans, quinoa has just 1/3 fiber & less than 1/2 the protein
- Per 3 ounces: 170 calories – 8 mg sodium – 12 grams carbs – 9 grams fiber – 16 grams protein
- What it is: Fermented cooked soybeans – firmer texture than tofu; absorbs the flavors that it’s cooked with. Can be stir-fried, baked, grilled.
- Per burger: 140 calories – 450 mg sodium – 18 grams carbs – 3 grams fiber – 5 grams protein
- More than 3x carbs than protein
Vegan Cheese like Daiya Cheese is mostly tapioca starch and oil, with 5 grams carbs and just 1 gram of protein per 60-calorie slice.