Being a vegetarian means you have a lot of options to choose from when it comes to fruits, vegetables and grains. Not eating meat doesn’t mean you have to lose out on any flavors or great dishes! However, meats contain a lot of nutrients that your body needs to function well. Other food groups don’t have these nutrients by default, and taking supplements isn’t preferable to naturally getting these important nutrients.
Protein is one of those key nutrients, but don’t worry — there are plenty of ways to get enough protein in your diet without ever having to eat meat OR succumb to protein supplements. Here are four protein methods you may want to try in your own diet.
Grains are one way to supplement your diet with protein, but they only have a small amount. Even if you were to eat as many grains a day as you were supposed to, the amount of protein you would get from them wouldn’t be enough.
Quinoa, however, is actually a seed, though it’s typically described as a grain. It contains eight grams of protein per cup, as well as all nine essential amino acids. The best aspect of quinoa is that it’s a versatile dish that can be eaten as is, added as an ingredient in most dishes and can be served hot OR cold.
- Veggies with Protein
Just because meat is the most obvious food group for protein doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few vegetables that are also full of the stuff! For instance, peas are a great source of protein and can be utilized in many different dishes, like salads and stews. Spinach is also filled with protein,with one cup containing almost five grams.
- Protein from Dairy
If you aren’t vegan, dairy is a great place to get protein. Foods like yogurt, milk, cheese and eggs contain a lot of protein that you need to live. Greek yogurt in particular is filled with protein, and extra protein and nutrients can be added when combined with fruits and nuts.
Eggs are also a breakfast food staple, filled with protein and energy that can get you through the day. Also, adding whey protein to any smoothie is another great way to get protein in your diet. This isn’t a supplement, and instead is a dairy product ground to a fine powder.
Healthy fats AND protein can both be found in nuts. Many people think of nuts in a traditional sense — eating them by the handful and with a little added sea salt. However, nuts can be added to different snacks, like salads and baked goods.
Also look into nut butter. Almond and peanut butter are filled with protein, but make sure to eat these in moderation. Many nut butters contain added ingredients that diminish their value as healthy options.
These are only a few of the ways to add protein in your vegetarian diet. Research more inventive ways and share your findings with us!