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Protein is a key ingredient in building and maintaining muscle, and for every kg of body weight, we need about .8 grams of it. However, the main ways we get protein are from meats like pork, beef, and chicken.
It can be hard to get protein from sources other than meat. For the vegetarian work-out gurus out there, or if you’re just trying to cut down on meat, it might take a little extra planning to get all the necessary nutrients you need in the day. But worry not—it’s totally doable.
Here are 10 meatless proteins to supplement to add to your diet and keep you vegetarian friendly.
Tempeh is a great meat substitute not only for its 31 grams of protein per cup, but also because of its texture—its thicker than tofu, making it a great substitution for burger patties or other traditionally meaty meals.
This is a Japanese-based food that is like a green bean, but it’s packed with protein (and fiber!). This small vegetable packs a whopping 16 grams of protein per cup (when shelled). A great way to prepare this food is to steam it instead of boiling it. Boiling it can release the nutrients into the water but steaming them will keep everything packaged neatly inside.
Quinoa is a grain which is jam-packed with minerals and vitamins like phosphorus, folate, magnesium and potassium – and of course, lots of protein. Quinoa is also special because it packs all 9 amino acids that your body needs in one serving, so it really is a superfood. Most other meatless protein sources don’t offer this perk. Quinoa has 8 grams of protein per cup.
Eggs should be a staple in every health fanatic’s diet, vegetarian or not. Aside from the versatility they have in preparation, they offer 7 grams of protein per egg, and have plenty of choline for brain health.
5. Chia Seeds
While this seed is tiny, it packs a punch. In addition to providing 9.4 grams of protein in only 2 tablespoons (yep, you read that right), it also offers omega-3s, fiber, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron! These seeds are so versatile and small that you can sprinkle them in any meal or dish. They don’t need any additional preparation, so just dump them into your smoothie or salad and go on about your day.
Seitan is very similar to tempeh, in that it has a texture that is very similar to beef or chicken. It can easily be added into a stir fry and offers 21 grams per 1/3 cup. It has plenty of sodium already, so hold the salt when preparing this food!
7. Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt is the powerhouse when it comes to protein, weighing in at a massive 29 grams of protein per cup! Not all Greek yogurts are made the same, so make sure to check the label before jumping for joy.
These tiny beans are packed with 18 grams of protein per cup, making them one of the most protein-efficient meatless options. They can even help lower your blood pressure and have heart-healthy effects.
9. Peanut Butter
We all know and love this vegetarian staple! Peanut butter offers 8 grams of protein in only 2 tablespoons, and 2 grams of fiber. It also just tastes like a desert, which is a plus.
These legumes bring 14 grams of protein per cup to the table. They can even help lower bad cholesterol and cut down your LDLs (Low-density lipoproteins). They also come packed with fiber! It’s also a gluten-free wheat alternative, so vegetarians and gluten-sensitive people can rejoice alike.
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