Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscles and repairing body tissues, as well as supporting digestion and immune functions. It is also an essential source for energy and helps the body build healthy cells, enzymes and antibodies.
With today’s families focusing on healthier eating options, many are looking for ways to get more protein without having to down a slab of steak every day. Here are just a few meatless protein sources to try. Make sure to include these items in your daily meals to ensure you are getting enough protein in your diet.
Depending on the type of bean, you can get 14-28 grams of protein in a single cup of beans, with the average amount being around 15 grams. Beans are also high in fiber and low in calories, making them another superfood. Blend garbanzo beans to make hummus, a protein-rich veggie dip. Or try adding beans to salads or whole grain dishes for added nutrition.
Just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 4 grams of protein and are loaded with fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and other micronutrients. Chia is a versatile super seed with a nutty flavor that can be prepared in a variety of ways such as sprinkled on a salad, spiked in a smoothie, or soaked in milk to make chia pudding.
Quinoa is another seed that has gained popularity as a superfood. It is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids and is also a great source of iron and fiber. One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Try it in salad, in side dishes instead of rice or even as a breakfast cereal.
Greek yogurt can contain as much as double the protein as regular yogurt. A typical 6-ounce serving contains 15-20 grams, approximately the same amount as in 2-3 ounces of lean meat. Greek yogurt, unlike traditional yogurt, gets its thick and creamy consistency and higher protein count through the unique straining process used to make it.
Nuts and Nut Butters
One cup of mixed nuts provides 27 grams of protein as well heart-healthy fats and disease-fighting vitamins and minerals. Tasty nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter have 7-8 grams per serving. Munch on a handful of raw or roasted nuts for a grab-and-go snack, spread nut butter on whole grain toast or mix with veggies for a healthy and delicious take on stir fry.
Whether you are a full-fledged vegan or just experimenting with Meatless Mondays for better health, there are plenty of meat-free foods you can eat to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Including meat-free protein sources are an excellent way to get the protein your body needs without the added fat and calories you don’t.