Advertising, marketing, and society stereotypes often have us associating big, strong muscles and fitness with a diet that includes a lot of meat for a high-protein diet. If you’ve been eating meat your whole life, you might worry about your protein sources when you start to cut it out of your diet, but it’s a worry you don’t need to have. There are plenty of great, delicious ways to get protein as a vegan or vegetarian. Let’s have a look at a few of these delicious protein sources for vegetarians.
The Soybean Family
Soybeans are a whole source of protein and can, by themselves, provide you with all the protein and amino acids needed to sustain you, and they can be delicious too. Tofu, tempeh and edamame beans are all derivatives of the soya bean and contain between 12 and 20 grams of protein per 100 grams, so while not as high as the 25 grams you can expect from a beef steak, they are much leaner and healthier for you, and have more nutritional benefit.
Many meat-style alternatives use soya in their composition too. If you’re looking for familiar taste, burgers have become some of the most popular amongst vegetarians, and with a wide selection of vegan burgers, Native Foods are an easy choice if you’re looking for a burger fix.
Lentils offer some of the highest protein per volume of any plant, at around 18 grams per 100 gram serving, and thus are an essential part of any vegetarian or vegan’s diet. Like edamame they’re also high in fiber which has been shown to be beneficial to your good gut bacteria too. They’re also great at lowering your risk of cardiovascular related illness. Look at things like salads, curries and soups for creative and delicious ways to incorporate lentils in your diet.
Peanuts and Peanut Butter
Peanuts are a taste you love or hate, but they’re nutritionally very good for you. They contain about seven grams of protein for just two tablespoons and can easily be incorporated in your cooking. It can be as simple as peanut butter on toast, or as complex as a peanut-based sauce in Asian inspired cooking. Peanut butter is a versatile ingredient with great benefits as a protein source for meat-free diets. It’s not just peanuts either – other nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashews also have a good amount of protein. Do bear in mind though that per weight, they might not be as impactful as some other protein sources.
It’s not just the average person that can thrive with a high protein meat free diet. There are many high-performance athletes who live a meat-free lifestyle and still compete at the highest levels, like tennis player Venus Williams, and the Chicago Bears’ David Carter. You’ll quickly see that you don’t need meat to get your daily fix of protein, and if you choose the right foods, it’s very possible to have a high-protein diet and still cut out the meat from it.