Retailers and consumers are struggling nowadays from the expensive production and freight cost of pork. In some areas in Metro Manila, meat traders and vendors went on a pork holiday due to the imposed price cap by the government. Consumers are left with an option to look for alternative protein sources. Protein is a vital macronutrient needed for structural support and physiological functions such as tissue repair and nutrient absorption. One of the few misconceptions on the role of protein in the body is that people tend to link meat with protein and muscle building. Although this is partly correct, overemphasizing meat in the diet may crowd out other equally important food and nutrients .
Whether you are finding affordable meat alternatives that fit into your budget or just trying to add more plant-based food in your diet, here are some nutri-tips to get your daily protein needs.
- Animal products such as meat, eggs and milk contain all essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) to support health. The sunny side of eating eggs is its affordable price and wide range of nutrients. Eggs contain high quality protein, no carbohydrates and zero sugar. Eggs can be cooked in a variety of ways such as boiling, poaching, frying, baking, and scrambling. Cooking does not only make eggs safer to eat by destroying pathogenic microorganisms, but it also helps in making protein more digestible. An egg a day is okay for healthy individuals.
- Combining complementary plant proteins also ensures adequate protein intake . To meet the daily requirement for protein, an increased consumption of legumes is recommended. Green beans such as snap beans (abitsuwelas) and string beans (sitaw) can be steamed, boiled or sauteed in oil. Chickpeas (garbanzos), red beans, and mung beans (monggo) are often used in making soups or ground up to form a paste.
- Other plant sources of protein include pigeon peas (kadyos), snow peas (sitsaro), cowpeas (paayap), hyacinth beans (bataw), lima beans (patani), peanuts (mani) and soy-based products like tofu and tempeh. Try pairing legume-based dishes with grains such as rice, bread and pasta to increase the protein quality of the dish.
- To get a better value for your money, you may also opt for small fish like anchovy (dilis or bolinao), which is available in fresh, salted, fermented, and dried form, and is a rich protein source. A 100 grams of fresh dilis contains almost twice the calcium found in milk. It is also an excellent source of essential fatty acids proven to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. These hearty meatless meals are perfect not only for fasting, but for any season. -Kareena Ynez A. Abungin
 Whitney, E. N., & Rolfes, S. R. (2016). Understanding nutrition. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
 Are eggs good for you or not? (n.d.). Retrieved February 16, 2021, from https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/08/15/are-eggs-good-for-you-or-not
 Mariotti, F., & Gardner, C. D. (2019). Dietary Protein and Amino Acids in Vegetarian Diets-A Review. Nutrients, 11(11), 2661. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112661