I was recently talking with a family member about the fact that when she makes a meatless choice at a restaurant these days it often does not include what you might think of as vegetarian protein, ie: tofu or beans. She was saying this might be a portabella mushroom sandwich with some cheese or an eggplant pasta dish. Is it OK to skip the meat if it also means skipping the protein at a meal? Let's take a look...
|Clearly I love eggplant, but this isn't the best option if you're looking for protein|
According to the USDA nutrient database (which thankfully is back up and running now that the government has resumed business!) here is the protein in some of these non-meat dishes that restaurants are selling as a complete meal...
1 cup grilled: 4g protein
1oz (about 1/8 of a ball of fresh mozzarella): 6g protein
1 cup cooked : <1g protein
1 oz: 7g protein
If the dish comes with some sort of whole grain (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread) that would add some protein to the dish as well. Bottom line? If you want to avoid meat and you're faced with no veggie-protein options, something with mushrooms (and cheese if you're eating dairy) is the better choice than something with just eggplant.