Many of you ask how I get enough protein eating a plant-based diet, so even though I don’t count macros or calories, I figured I’d take this opportunity to measure the portions of this salad & to show you that a plant-based meal contains more protein than it seems!
- 1 cup kale: 2.9g
- 1.5 cups spinach: 4.5g
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils: 9g
- 1/2 cup zucchini: 0.6g
- 2 tbsp. raw cashews: 4g
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes: 0.3g
- 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast: 1.1g
- TOTAL: 22.4 protein 😍
How much protein we need per day depends on age, activity & gender & even changes from day to day based on energy expenditure. But, research has actually shown that most of us eat a lot more protein than we think!
So why do we still feel a lack energy or like we aren’t full after a meal? Because it isn’t so much about just getting the protein in as it is about choosing the RIGHT foods. Quality over quantity.
The average person should eat between 10-25g of protein for each main meal. Again, we’re talking about the AVERAGE person & the number changes based on how much muscle you have, activity, age, hormones, etc. This is why it’s impractical + misleading to put a cap on how much the body needs or can absorb in 1 meal because everyone’s different.
What matters is eating enough protein per day for YOUR body.
How can you know?
Some signs you’re getting enough protein include:
- you feel satisfied + full after meals
- your energy levels are sustained throughout the day & you don’t get sudden bursts of fatigue/lack of motivation
- your mood is stable (no mood swings or brain fog)
- you still get sore post-workout but not to the point where you have chronic muscle pain (protein fuels recovery)
- you see results from exercise (protein fuels muscle growth + revs metabolism)
- your hair is thick + strong, nails aren’t brittle & skin is plump & smooth (protein + amino acids boost collagen production)
And a protein deficiency can be seen with basically all the opposite results or consequences: never feeling full or satisfied after meals, chronic fatigue, energy slumps, lack of motivation & mood swings, brain fog, extreme muscle & joint pain or soreness, not seeing results from exercise even though you’re putting in the work, weak hair follicles, dry, flaky skin, brittle nails & an inability to concentrate or focus.
BTW, IMO, having protein consumption spread over the day VS. having 1 huge protein-packed meal after a workout helps satiety, keeps cravings at bay, improves muscle mass + is easier on the digestive system. Again, this is just my opinion & what works for me!
NOW, back to the salad… WHICH, BY THE WAY, ADMIT YOU’RE IMPRESSED AT THE AMOUNT OF PROTEIN IN THERE!
- 1 cup kale
- 1.5 cups spinach
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils
- 1/2 cup zucchini
- 2 tbsp. raw cashews
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp. organic balsamic vinegar
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp. organic coconut vinegar
- Sea salt & black pepper to taste
- A few pinches of cayenne pepper
TO MAKE IT:
- Cook your lentils according to the package directions. Mine were already meal-prepped but you can also cook them on the spot if you prefer. You’ll just need to give them a bit of time to cool off so they don’t turn the other ingredients soggy.
- Once the lentils are cooked, set them aside to cool off.
- Add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl & once the lentils are cooled, throw ’em into the same bowl.
- Season the salad in the same bowl with the dressing ingredients & toss to coat.
- ENJOY! 🙂