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March 15, 2019
These are the…smartest Lenten foods!

Every year during this season, we talk about a specific matter. This is none other than the lent. About a year ago, we talked about whether there is a right or a wrong way to go on a fast. You see, each person experiences the fasting period in a different way. There are those that…go by the book. Others adjust it to their personal needs. And there are those who follow it and simply look for ways to make Lenten recipes even tastier. Those who fast, they give up meat. This is not a bad thing though; quite the opposite. Others turn their back on all animal products. Cheese, milk, and butter don’t have a place at their table during this time. In that way, they try to consume large quantities of Lenten foods in order to fill the gap of the other foods that are absent. But you know what? The point isn’t just to fill the gap, but to do it in a smart way. One of these ways is to be able to fill the protein gap that a strictly vegan diet brings (because, practically, this is what lent is). This is exactly what we’ll see in this diary! We’ll talk about the high-protein foods that you should consume a lot during this period of time. So, what do you say? Shall we look at them one by one? Let’s start from the basics...

How much protein is enough?

I am not the one to answer that. Why? Because each person is different. What does that mean? That the protein needs of each person depend on the sex, the physical condition, age, if he/she exercises or not, and -of course- on his/her overall health. However, according to specialists, an average adult should consume about 50-60 g protein daily, divided into all of the meals. So, by keeping in mind that meat (beef: 29-32 g protein/100 g cooked product), (chicken: 28 g protein/100 g boiled product), and fish (23 g protein/100 g steam-cooked fish) are high in protein, let’s see which Lenten foods contain enough protein, but also some tasty ways to make them a part of our diet.

Legumes

About 8-10 g protein/100 g cooked product

The legumes are allies of our health as they offer numerous nutrients to our body, while they are low in cholesterol and bad fats.

Vegetarian moussaka

Vegetarian moussaka by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Mushrooms

3.6 g protein/100 g cooked mushrooms

Mushrooms are ideal not only during Lent but also for any time of the year. Why? Because they are rich in fiber, but also in numerous nutrients that are valuable to our body. Moreover, they go with (almost) everything: pasta, rice, soups, salads, and many more!

Mushroom stew

Mushroom stew by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Bulgur

about 4 g protein/100 g cooked product

Due to the protein, amino acids, but also all the other nutrients that it contains, this particular food is considered to be valuable to our body.

Bulgur burger

Bulgur burger by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Avocado

1.9 g protein/100 g

Protein is not…the only thing that avocados have. They also have 18 amino acids which make sure that the protein is absorbed by our body the moment it is consumed!

Chocolate avocado mousse with orange

Chocolate avocado mousse with orange by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Nuts

Walnuts: 17 g protein/100 g, Almonds: 15 g protein/ 100 g, Cashews: 21 g protein/100 g

Rich in protein and fatty acids, nuts are -undoubtedly- a food category that is nutrient-rich and that can fill us with energy any time of the day.

Espresso glazed nuts

Espresso glazed nuts by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Seeds

Pseudocereals on the one hand (quinoa, chia, buckwheat, sorghum, amaranth with 4-7 g protein in 100 g cooked product) and seeds on the other hand (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds with 18-35 g protein in 100 g), they are a smart way through which we can top up our meals with protein.

Ratatouille quinoa soup

Ratatouille quinoa soup by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

Soy

14 g protein/100 g cooked product

The truth is that there are countless soy products in the market right now. All you have to do is choose the ones you like the most and cook them however you want.

Soy milk

Soy milk by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

And, like that, lent becomes even healthier and tastier. Without anything special. Just some simple foods that prove to be a lot… “stronger” than you ever imagined!

Akis

* This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.

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