Plant Protein and Medical Weight Loss
Though medical weight loss can take some uncertainty out of your diet, you won’t be on meal replacements forever. After your medical weight loss program has you transition to regular food choices, you’ll need to learn how to cook meals that help you keep off the weight you’ve lost and promote a healthy lifestyle for years to come.
This means paying attention to your body’s nutritional needs and providing it with a diet that helps it stay strong and free of excess weight. Protein is an important part of any nutritional diet, but many common sources of protein are high in fat. Red meat in particular is loaded with saturated fat and has been identified in the latest nutrition guidelines as a food that most Americans are getting too much of.
In moderation, meat can be a healthy part of any diet, but those who eat plant-based diets generally have lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol, putting them at a reduced risk of obesity and comorbid conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This doesn’t mean you should become a vegan overnight—by trying a few plant-based protein alternatives, you can give your body the protein it needs without contributing to high cholesterol levels.
Tonight, try replacing the animal protein in your meal with one of these plant-based sources:
- Quinoa. Because this grain contains all nine essential amino acids, it is considered a complete protein source, which is rare in the plant world. Quinoa can replace rice in many meals and has a nutty, unique taste in addition to its many nutritional benefits. It is also often made into pastas and can be used to make meatless burger patties.
- Beans. Loaded with proteins and other nutrients, beans can be healthy and flavorful additions to your meals. Try pairing them with rice or using them in Mexican cuisine. You can find black bean burger patties at most supermarkets, which can be a healthier replacement for beef.
- Soy. This legume is a mainstay of many vegan and vegetarian diets because of its versatility. Tofu is an excellent choice for many dishes and can be cooked in countless different ways. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is often used as a replacement for meat in sandwiches. Again, you can find soy-based burger patties at most grocery stores, and these can replace ground beef in many meals. Just watch the amount of soy you consume—studies show that too much can potentially lead to hormonal side effects.
Remember: not all of your protein has to come from meat. Using meat alternatives after medical weight loss can help you add a little flavor and nutrition to your diet without the high cholesterol of animal sources.