Can you be Vegetarian BUT still eat a diet rich in protein?
When we think about dieting and “eating well,” we think about whole natural foods. We even think about cutting calories if weight loss is our goal.
But so often we do these two things and still don’t get the results we want!
And it’s because MACROS MATTER!
Protein is essential but often the macro we focus on least.
But a lack of protein may be the reason we’ve felt hungry on other diets and have not gotten the results we’ve wanted.
Why is protein so important?:
- It’s the building blocks of muscle. Not only will you preserve your lean muscle mass while potentially dieting in a calorie deficit BUT you can also build lean muscle to help you look more toned! AND as we get older, especially us ladies, it can be harder and harder to retain and even GAIN muscle. A diet high in protein helps! Plus, when we are injured, we often think we need less protein, BUT a diet higher in protein can help us prevent muscle loss while we are out and restricted from training.
- Keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Protein keeps you satisfied so that you don’t end up feeling like you are starving even if you’re trying to lose weight.
- It makes weight loss EASIER! The thermogenic effect of protein makes it EASIER to lose weight and drop body fat on a protein rich diet EVEN if you “overeat.” Plus, because it preserves lean muscle mass, you will tend to burn more calories even at rest and your metabolism will stay healthy.
- Improves recovery and muscle repair. You will provide your muscles with the building blocks they need to repair. AND the increase in protein can also help your tendons and connective tissues repair. Greater protein synthesis accelerates tissue repair and strengthens connective tissues to reduce your risk for injury.
- Can improve bone density and prevent osteoporosis. It is actually a common misconception that high protein is bad for your bones and this “myth” is based on a misunderstanding of bone metabolism. Actually the amino acids in protein are used to build bone AND because protein increases muscles mass, there is an increase in bone strength!
- And studies of protein rich diets have even shown to improve brain functioning, quality of sleep AND even lower blood pressure!
Ok…so you’re now convinced you need more protein.
But how do you get it in if you’re a veggie lover?
That is why I wanted to share this delicious Vegetarian-friendly dish!
Cauliflower And Mushroom Casserole
1/2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp Fresh Parsley
4 tbsp Grated Parmesan Cheese
1/4 cup Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
4 tbsp Light Cheddar Cheese
3 tbsp Egg Whites
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tbsp Sea Salt
3/4 tbsp Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 Large Onion
1 1/2 pounds Cauliflower
1/2 pound Fresh Button Mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 425F and place a rack in the middle. Rub a small-medium baking dish with a bit of olive oil and set aside.
Spread cauliflower florets in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over the florets and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is lightly caramelized, turning once.
As the cauliflower cooks, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, saute the mushrooms in 1/2 tbsp olive oil sprinkled with a couple of pinches of salt.
Stir every minute or so until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have browned a bit. Add the onions and cook another 4-5 minutes until translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute and remove from the heat. When the cauliflower is ready, add to the skillet and stir until combined.
In a medium bowl combine eggs, cheddar cheese and yogurt.
Add cauliflower-mushroom mixture. Stir until well combined and turn out into your prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cover with foil.
Lower the oven temperature to 350F. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes, until golden around the edges. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Protein: 22 grams
Carbs: 12 grams
Fats: 15 grams
Ready to eat according to your goals and learn how to get even more out of your vegetarian diet? Want to learn how to increase your protein using COMPLEMENTARY proteins even?