The Daily Nutrition

7 Great Meat-Free Protein Sources

When some of you are eating, there may come a time where you don’t desire any meat. That’s perfectly okay. Sometimes you just aren’t in the mood for it.

But you still need to have some kind of protein in your meal. Protein is a major key to any diet.

There are foods out there that will provide you with a good protein punch that is meatless. This can also be particularly helpful for those of you that are vegetarians.

Some of these foods have more protein than the others, some are going to have more protein than some of the meats you might eat. Either way, if you’re looking for a protein that has no meat, look at the foods below.

Lentils

great meat free protein sources

If you’re a vegetarian then you probably already know about lentils. You can say these fall under the category of beans, but they are slightly different. They provide the nearly all the same benefits as most beans as well.

You’ll get a good helping of B vitamins, folate, and fiber. These are nutrients that’ll help provide you with energy and keep you regular in the bathroom.

Lentils have a distinct flavor that is amazing. You can add them to a lot of different meals, either mixed in or as a side dish.

You’ll get about 18 grams of protein if you eat a cup of lentils. That is a high amount of protein that’ll give you a big boost when your body actually needs it.

When you’re preparing lentils, it’ll be best to hold off on the salt for as long as possible, unless you are a fan of extremely mushy beans.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that seem like they would provide you with almost nothing. However, we all know that you should never judge a book by its cover. Not only will you get a major intake of protein, but you’ll also be provided with a lot of fiber and Omega-3s that’ll help boost brain activity as well.

If you happen to be taking a multivitamin as well, you may not need to take them anymore if you choose to have chia seeds regularly. This is because chia seeds have calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.

I don’t recommend you getting a spoonful and eating them, but that is a perfectly acceptable way to consume them. You could easily add them to most meals or even your drinks if you want. They aren’t going to change the flavor of anything and, depending on how much you add, they may not even create the crunch you may be expecting to hear.

2 tablespoons of chia seeds will provide about 9.5 grams of protein.

Quinoa

great meat free protein sources

This may be a food that you haven’t even considered trying yet. It’s starting to pick up a lot of steam and gain more and more popularity.

At first sight, quinoa doesn’t look like much at all but it’s great once you cook it.

Because of its lack of an actual taste, you can basically add it to anything. Yes, I actually mean anything. The only difference it’s going to make in your meal is the texture. Even then, the difference isn’t that great. You’ll just be able to feel the quinoa since it doesn’t have a crunch.

It’ll feel like tiny gel balls. Quinoa feels like this because they are able to retain a ton of moisture. You need to cook it in water, like rice so if you don’t feel like having rice, this is an amazing substitute for it.

Not only does quinoa provide you with a lot of protein, it contains all of the amino acids that your body needs, so you can consider it a “complete” protein.

Quinoa will provide you with about 8 grams of protein per cup. So, if you’re looking to get a little more protein in your meals, add quinoa.

Peanut Butter

great meat free protein sources

Peanut butter is a personal favorite of mine. I sit with a jar and take a eat a few spoonfuls at a time every once in awhile. I could live off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if you let me, but I know that wouldn’t allow me to have the most well-rounded diet. Peanut butter is just delicious.

If you aren’t a regular peanut butter eater, you should be. Don’t let the kids be the only ones that get to enjoy all the fun of this food. Be a kid again and enjoy a classic childhood favorite.

2 tablespoons of peanut butter will provide 8 grams of protein. You’ll also get 2 grams of fiber. Protein and fiber are pertinent to any diet, regardless of what it is.

Something else that peanut butter has that’s great for your body is monounsaturated fats. This helps reduce your cholesterol levels and in turn, helps with your heart health.

Having a food that can give you essential nutrients, while helping your heart, and taste amazing seems like a combination that you shouldn’t miss out on.

Have peanut butter with a sandwich or just eat it straight from the jar. Either way, just make sure you take advantage of the benefits peanut butter provides.

Greek Yogurt

If you’re looking for a food that is low in calories, but high in protein, then you need to start looking at Greek yogurt.

One cup of this creamy snack has up to 29 grams of protein. In case you were wondering, that’s a lot.

Something great about Greek yogurt that you may not have known is that it is great if you need a substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream. When you mix it in with a meal, you won’t be able to tell the difference at all.

You can eat some foods knowing that you aren’t getting the fattiness of mayonnaise or sour cream.

Be careful when choosing Greek yogurts though. Your best option is to go for a non-flavored type of Greek yogurt. When you start to look at the flavored yogurts, you’ll be looking at a ton of sugar that can cause this snack to go from a nice, healthy go to, to a snack that will pile fat onto your body.

Edamame

great meat free protein sources

You may have had edamame at your an Asian restaurant before. They are typically served as an appetizer. Or you could’ve just had them as a regular snack.

You probably won’t see them in any meals.

They are perfect for mindless snacking when you just want to get a little more food in your system. They are even better because of the amount of protein they can give you.

A cup of edamame will give you about 16 grams of protein.

For something that just seems like peas in a pod, they give you a bunch of protein.

Not only will you get that extra bit of protein, you will also get a good source of fiber, something that many people lack in their everyday diets.

The best way to cook these beans is to keep them in their pods and boil them. Taking them out of their pods first then cooking them could cause them to lose some of their nutrients. You want to get as much as you can out of the edamame, so you should cook them in a way that will provide you with the most.

Eggs

great meat free protein sources

Eggs are always argued to be good and bad. Good because of the amount of protein they can provide, but bad because some research shows that it can be very bad for your cholesterol.

For the most part, eggs are a healthy option. They are low in calories and full of choline, which is a brain boosting nutrient. Eggs have also been known to increase your body’s HDL levels, which is considered the good type of cholesterol.

The good thing about eggs is that they can be cooked in so many different ways. This allows you to have a wide variety of recipes that you can make. Eggs go great with most foods. Don’t be scared to add them to something you may not have thought about before.

Add them to a regular salad or even a burger for a bit of added taste. You won’t be disappointed. Eggs by themselves can even be a good meal for you.

Protein Without the Meat

Not all protein comes in the form of a juicy steak. It’s important to know what options you have out there since your typical meals may not always be readily available to you.

You never know what situation you might find yourself in, so it’s important to know where you can find protein when you don’t have that chicken breast in your fridge.

Most of these options are ones that can be added to any meal so even if you do have that nice steak on your plate, you can always add a little more protein to help your body out.

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