Protein is an essential nutrient meaning that we have to get it through our diet. It has many important functions in our body, but a primary one is building and preserving muscle mass. Most people associate protein with athletic performance, but it's even more important to support growth in our earlier years and as we age. We don't absorb and metabolize protein in our older years like we do when we’re younger. This is why it's critical to ensure we get enough.
Getting adequate protein isn’t always easy, especially for those who are vegan, vegetarian, or trying to cut back on the amount of animal protein they consume. The good news is you might be surprised to learn that vegetables can be a source of protein as long as you know which ones to choose.
Dr. Sears' Recommendations
Dr. Sears recommends individuals consume about 25 grams of protein at each meal to help with blood sugar control and to keep you feeling fuller longer. The following vegetables rank high in Dr. Sears’ opinion when following the Zone Diet. The reason for this is not only are they a good source of protein, but their ratio of protein to carbohydrate is low. This ensures you maintain the ideal hormonal balance to be in the Zone. Plus they are rich in fermentable fiber and polyphenols, making them a great addition to any PastaRx Fusilli or Orzo dish.
What Does 10 grams of Vegetable Protein Look Like?
If you want to meet your 25 grams of protein at each meal, but want to switch which sources they come from, try this! Two ounces of low-fat protein or one serving of PastaRx supplies about 15 grams of protein. To get to 25 grams at a meal just couple your protein choice with 10 grams of vegetable protein. Each of the amounts listed below is what it would take to get to 10 grams of vegetable protein. Mix and match to your taste preference and see how easy it is to meet your needs.
Artichokes: 5 cups, raw
Asparagus: 25 medium spears, raw
Broccoli: 4 cups, chopped, raw
Brussels Sprouts: 3 1/3 cups raw
Cauliflower: 5 cups, raw
Mushrooms: 5 cups sliced, raw
Kale: 5 cups, chopped, raw
Spinach: 10 cups, raw
How to Make A Zone Meal
When making a Zone meal our general recommendations are to aim for one that is under 12 grams of fat with 25 grams of protein, about 35 grams of net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber). This turns out to be about 400 calories or less. Having the right amount of fat, balanced with protein and low glycemic carbohydrates helps minimize hunger and fatigue for 4-5 hours. The amount of protein consumed on the Zone Diet in the course of a day is pretty close to what the average American (female or male) is already eating, but now split evenly throughout the day. We realize that eating is not a one size fits all approach which is why we recommend using our protein calculator and food block guide as the most precise way to determine your needs.
Make It Easy With Zone PastaRx
Zone PastaRx is a vegetarian source of protein which supplies 15 grams of protein per serving. It's the perfect substitute for pasta or rice in any recipe and an easy way to boost your protein needs. Simply couple it with 10 grams of vegetable protein and you're well on your way to getting to the Zone.