Whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s important to eat enough foods with protein; protein will help your baby grow, manage your weight gain and feel good! Protein is found in foods such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, meats and poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, and dairy products.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends that you choose protein foods that come from plants more often.
Plant-based protein foods can provide more fibre and less saturated fat than other types of protein foods. This can be beneficial for your health. Plant-based protein foods include legumes (beans, peas such as chickpeas or split peas, and lentils), nuts, seeds, tofu, and fortified soy beverage.
Tips to help you eat more plant-based protein foods:
- Serve a bean dip, such as hummus, with raw vegetables
- Sprinkle chopped nuts or seeds on salads or cereals
- Try bean or lentil-based soups
- Stir-fry vegetables with tofu
- Make bean or tofu burritos or tacos
- Use legumes or tofu to make dishes that usually have meat. For example, chili with beans or lentils, spaghetti sauce made with soybean curd
- Try new casserole recipes using beans or lentils
- Make smoothies using fortified soy beverage
Eating more plant-based proteins doesn’t mean that you can’t eat meat and dairy products. Lean meats, low mercury fish, lower fat milk and dairy products are also nutritious foods and are included in the list of protein options you may choose from. Instead, it is about making small changes in your eating habits to optimize your health. It also supports and lessens the environmental impact.
For more healthy and delicious recipes, including protein-rich recipes, check out the nutritious recipes on our blog!