They say that becoming pescetarian can seriously improve your health! Being quite health conscious, I´m always aware getting enough protein in my diet. Protein is essential to build and repair tissue all over the body, including muscle, hair and nails. In fact every cell in the body contains protein, which is why it´s so important!
Between fish, seafood, pulses, nuts, seeds and dairy products there are plenty of options for the pescetarian. As long as you are aware of incorporating it into your meals, there is no reason to miss meat at all. Some people talk of struggling to hit the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of protein (50g for an adult according to the British government). The great thing for a pescetarian is that fish and seafood contain a high proportion of protein, which makes reaching your RDA much easier. For example…
- 150g salmon fillet contains 35g of protein.
- 100g mackerel fillet contains 19g of protein.
- 100g king prawns contains 25g protein.
- 100g cooked mussels contain 24g protein.
But knowing that most people don´t eat fish or seafood every day, we have to look at other sources of protein to consume. I support balanced, healthy diet and many years ago I drastically reduced the amount of rice and pasta I eat. Replacing rice with quinoa (full of vitamins, fiber, antioxidents and in itself protein rich) was a great help. I also made sure that if I am not eating fish or seafood, that my meal contains a good handful of seeds, cheese, tofu or eggs. This always helps to hit the target.
One big positive about eating a lot of protein is that it keeps you feeling sated (full) for longer, therefore decreasing hunger (in theory). Although it seems like I can always eat, at any time of the day! Compared to eating a carbohydrate rich diet which can give you an energy spike, then crash, eating high protein should keep you going for longer. Some studies suggest people on high protein diets, consume around 200 calories a day less than others.
I don´t follow any diet or strict eating plan (which for me can suck all of the joy out of eating). But I do encourage being aware of eating enough protein.
Here are my 9 top tips for getting enough protein….
- ´Go French´ and enjoy cheese after each main meal. Just be aware that some cheeses are very high in fat too, so it´s not an invitation to eat the whole cheese! Compare parmesan which is 42% protein and 28% fat to Cottage Cheese around 17% protein and 0% fat.
- Carry a small tub of cashew nuts in your bag (instead of bag of crisps). 25g nuts gives you 5g protein. I eat a small handful of cashews every day (mainly because I love them, and the fact they are rich in protein and good fats!)
- Eggs are a quick easy option, for adding protein to your meal. 3 Eggs gives you around 15g of protein. Just be careful not to eat too many (due to their high cholesterol content).
- A bowl with 50g edamame beans contains 6g protein. They make a great ´on the go´ snack.
- 50g sunflower or pumpkin seeds is 10.5g protein. I sprinkle them whole over salads, breakfast cereal and stews. You can also grind them into a powder to thicken soups or smoothies.
- Use quinoa as a substitute for rice, to acompany a curry or piece of fish. As mentioned before, quinoa is a complete protein containing all 9 amino acids.
- Peanut butter, tahini and cashew butter are all high protein. Peanut butter on rice crackers make a light, easy protein snack
- Make smoothies with yoghurt or milk, instead of fruit juice or water. A small glass of milk for example can add 5g of protein.
- Beans and pulses contain more protein than other vegetables and are relatively cheap too. As a bonus they´re really high in fiber, so keep you feeling full, and regular. Add handfuls of lentils to salads and soups, make a big batch of hummus, tuck into kidney bean chilli, try your own falafel. Beans are so versatile, it should be easy to incorporate them into your diet.