It is a brand-new year! I like the clean slate that a new year brings and all the expected and unexpected possibilities that lie ahead. It’s also a time to establish some brand-new goals.
What have you set your sights on for the coming year? I am not one to make resolutions, but I do like to set some goals for myself. Especially ones that involve food.
Last year, if you will remember, my goal was to incorporate more of the healthy fats into my and my family’s diet. The year before that, I had the goal of eating more whole grains.
Along the way, I’ve uncovered some wonderful recipes, ventured to eat some things I normally wouldn’t, and found new favorites in the world of whole grains and healthy fats.
This year, my goal is to discover alternative proteins. Alternative to what, you may be thinking? Protein alternatives to meat.
Don’t get me wrong: I am a carnivore. My family and I enjoy grilled steaks, barbecue chicken, broiled fish, pulled pork and don’t plan on eradicating those from our diet. But, one can’t deny the fact that protein can come in many forms and it is nice to have some substitutions.
Proteins are made up of amino acids, sometimes called “building blocks,” that are essential for normal cell structure and function in our bodies. We need protein to build and repair tissue, manufacture enzymes and hormones, and supply bones, blood, and muscle.
Because protein is a macronutrient, our bodies need relatively large amounts of it. Unlike fats and carbohydrates (which are also macronutrients), protein is not stored in the body and constantly needs to be resupplied.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protein needs differ according to a person’s age and activity. For young children, older people, and inactive women, the recommendation is 2 servings daily for a total of 5 ounces.
For older children, most teens, active women and inactive men, the government recommendation is 2 servings daily for a total of 6 ounces. For active teen boys and active men, the number is upped to 2 servings daily for a total of 7 ounces.
Nutrition experts like Dr. Frank Hu, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University School of Public Health in Boston recommend getting protein from a variety of sources, not just meat.
There are many plant-based proteins to be had including nuts and seeds, beans, grains, and vegetables. Bean products like tofu and tempeh, and grain products like seitan, are all protein dense, meatless ways to get needed protein into your diet.
So, every month this year I will be sharing a recipe that employs a meat-less protein. And to kick things off, this month’s recipe features eggs. Most folks know that eggs are a high-quality source of protein, but eggs also contain vitamins, including A, E and K and a range of B vitamins such as B12, riboflavin and folic acid.
I attended a women’s luncheon and cookie exchange at my congregation last month. One of the items on the menu that afternoon was a delicious egg salad.
Most folks are familiar with egg salad, as was I. But there was something different about this one. It was ethereally light, not weighed down with too much mayo, and so very tasty.
The gal who put together this wonderful salad, my friend Lisa, was kind enough to share her secret with me: the eggs are grated, not chopped. Grating the eggs on a cheese grater (the side with the large holes) makes such a difference!
This yummy salad is a perfect punch of meatless protein for your breakfast or lunch in this new year of possibilities.
- Cooking spray
- 6 hard-boiled eggs
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 or 3 Tbsp. yellow mustard
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. dried dill
Grate eggs on the large holes of a cheese grater into a large bowl. Combine mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and dill in another bowl and mix well. Gently fold in the grated eggs and mix just until combined. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve egg salad on toasted bread, in lettuce cups, or on crackers.