Ask the Nutritionist
Q: Can you suggest ways to incorporate plant-based proteins into a vegetarian's diet?
Mary Nickerson, Rutland, Vermont
A: Vegetarians typically eat a plant-based diet, but do not abstain from non-meat animal products, including milk, cheese, and eggs and sometimes fish. And in terms of protein, that provides you with a ton of flexibility.
First off, most people are overly concerned about the amount of protein they get in the diet. The typical American eats more protein than the body needs, and in the end that just equates to excess calories that turn into fat. However, during treatment, it is important to pay attention to the amount of protein in your diet because protein requirements are often higher during treatment.
Luckily, as a vegetarian, you are not short on options. Nuts, beans, seeds, tofu, seitan, eggs, tempeh, yogurt, and quinoa are all vegetarian sources of protein that are inexpensive compared to meat and easy to prepare.
We recommend incorporating protein into each meal and snack.