It’s a common misconception that to get enough protein in our diets, we must eat meat. Whether you’ve been a vegetarian or vegan all your life or have recently made the switch, one of the biggest questions that you’ve probably been asked when people find out is “but, how do you get enough protein?”
Thankfully, going veggie or vegan isn’t all about watching yourself waste away since you’ve given up the only source of protein available. Because, everyone’s wrong – both have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to protein-rich foods that aren’t beef or chicken. Let’s look at some of the most popular.
#1. Vegetarian Protein Shakes:
One of the most convenient ways to get more protein in your veggie/vegan diet is through plant-based protein shakes. Made of nutritious plant protein, you can find shakes and smoothies that are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, providing you with lots of great nutrients derived from non-animal ingredients.
#2. Lentils and Beans:
Next time somebody asks you how you’re getting enough protein without eating bacon, tell them that you’re getting more than enough from your beans on toast. Cheap to obtain, easy to cook, and versatile enough to put in hundreds of different meal ideas, lentils and beans are some of the best sources of veggie protein out there.
Chances are you have heard of Mycoprotein, or Quorn, as you may know it better. Whilst it was originally developed to deal with food shortages, today it is a firm favorite meat alternative amongst vegetarians and vegans alike. (Although if you’re vegan, be careful – they have a specially designated range as whilst all their products are veggie, not all are vegan.)
With 10 grams of protein per half a cup serving, tofu is probably the most well-known soy-based food product and is usually easily accessible at your local grocery store. Firm tofu is one of the best sources of vegetarian protein available, and the best news? It makes for the perfect meat alternative since it’s hugely versatile and can be added to curries and noodle dishes, and can even be marinated in beer.
Quinoa may resemble carb-heavy foods such as couscous or rice, however cooked quinoa hides a huge 8g of protein in just one cup. It’s so good for you, that even NASA wants to grow it on interplanetary space flights. And, protein isn’t the only nutrient that you’ll get from this food – it’s also full of fiber, magnesium, and iron.
#6. Nut Butter
All nuts are a valuable source of healthy fats and protein, making them a staple of any vegetarian diet. But, be careful – nuts such as cashews, almonds and pistachios are all high in calories, so don’t over-do it. Natural nut butters that contain just nuts, vegetable oil, and perhaps a pinch of salt are a convenient source of meat-free protein.
Would you like to add to this list? We’d love to hear from you! Share your favorite meat-free protein sources in the comments below.