Need A Little Extra Protein In Your Diet These High Protein Foods Pack In Essential Nutrients But Aren’t Meat
Meat is high in protein, but there are actually so many more ways to get protein into your diet. These protein-rich alternatives can be cooked and consumed in a multitude of ways and are perfect whether you eat only vegan recipes are just looking to be more aware of what nutrients youre eating!
Not vegetarian, but still want to eat healthy? Try these protein-packed salads.
Sneaky Ways To Get More Protein Without Meat
This post was written by Chris Freytag, fitness trainer, health coach, and author. The opinions expressed herein are hers and hers alone. To learn more about Chris, check out her websiteand follow her on or . There are plenty of misconceptions about vegetarians and vegans and I should know. My family consists of one vegan, three carnivores, and me, a flexitarian whos mostly vegetarian but occasionally eats chicken or fish. Because we dont always eat meat, my family has been the subject of many of the misunderstandings about vegetarians especially the idea that its impossible to get enough protein while eating a meatless diet. People have even mentioned to me that vegetarians cant build muscle like meat eaters because they are protein-deficient. In truth, vegetarians can certainly get enough protein in their diets, especially with a little planning. Meat-abstainers and carnivores alike can sneak more protein into meals by following these easy six strategies throughout the day. Also be sure to check out my recipes for Spicy Black Bean Burgers and Hummus, below!
The Best Veggie Protein Sources
If you’re cutting out certain food groups such as meat and fish, you might think your protein options are somewhat limited, but there are lots of options for packing in the nutrients.
Grains and pulses
Lentils, pulses and beans are an excellent storecupboard staple source of protein 100g of boiled lentils contains around 9g of protein and are a hearty way to bulk up soups, stews and casseroles. Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans and even baked beans are an easy way to power up your protein intake. There are also a range of grains such as oats, barley, rice and quinoa that can add protein to a super-simple recipe. Quinoa in particular is a valuable veggie ingredient as it’s one of the few plant sources classed as a complete protein. This means it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. Learn more about the health benefits of quinoa.
And it’s well worth having that bowl of porridge in the morning 50g of oats made with milk contains around 2g of protein.
Try our milk-based super berry smoothie to kick off your day.
Eggs are an easily available, cheap source of nutrients. A single hard-boiled egg contains around 7g of protein and makes a nutritious, filling breakfast or lunchtime meal. They’re also easily digestible and low in calories. Try our protein-rich scrambled egg and feta hash.Read up on the benefits of eggs in our ultimate egg guide.
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Ways To Get More Protein Without Eating Meat
There are lots of wholesome ways to increase your protein intake without resorting to meat.
These days, protein seems to be the superstar nutrient and for good reason. Gram for gram, its more satisfying than carbohydrates or fat meaning it keeps you fuller, longer. Protein is also essential for repairing and building muscle and keeps your metabolism humming along.
The daily recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For most adult men and women, that translates to 46 to 56 grams of protein each day. For reference, a 3-ounce, fist-sized hamburger delivers 24 grams of protein.
Great Sources Of Protein Other Than Meat
Do you think that your family eats nutritious meals?
You may think that youre giving your kids the best foods possible, but a study on daily nutrition found that empty calories make up nearly 40% of the average kids diet.
Do you want your child to eat better and reduce their empty calorie intake? Give them more protein in their meals.
Meat is the go-to source for protein, but when you have to appease picky eaters meat may not be the best choice. Luckily, there are sources of protein other than meat your kids can eat.
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Protein Sources Other Than Meat Conclusion
There are things youre going to have to consider when looking into different kinds of meat alternatives for protein. Its not just about how much protein it has, but also whether or not its considered a complete protein.
If it is not, youre going to have to pair it up with other protein alternatives. There are many available recipes online that are made specifically for this purpose. These alternatives serve as a good fill-up for the proteins that youre going to need as you build up your body.
What Happens From Here
As we race into the new decade, things are looking exceptionally encouraging for eateries rolling out the improvement to a meat-elective item. While cafés and cheap food chains are centered around giving clients what they need, you can hope to see increasingly more plant-put together choices concerning menus across the United States. We may even begin to see more plant-based meat eateries that stringently sell meatless dishes or plant-based meat. Individuals are beginning to understand the vital advantages of a plant-based eating routine, so meatless food creation will keep on taking off higher than ever while cafés will offer meatless choices that cost less and taste staggering. Need to study plant-based meat cooking? Keen on a culinary profession?
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Vegan Protein: A Simple Guide To Getting What You Need
Where do you get your protein?
Its question vegans and vegetarians get asked more than any other. We hear it so often, in fact, that we tend to forget that some people really do want to know the answer, and arent just asking it with the aim of poking holes in our silly, granola-crunchy plant-based diet plan.
And when it comes to supplements for vegans, protein is the big one people want to know about .
First, the short answer to the question Where do you get your protein?
You dont need as much protein as most people think, and its easy to get what you do need from beans, nuts, seeds, grains, and even greens.
Then, a longer answer: in my new book, The Plant-Based Athlete, we devote an entire chapter to protein, where we really dive in and cover our preferred sources, amino acid considerations, and sample meal plans that show just how easy it is to get what you need on a plant-based diet.
And finally, a medium-sized answer this blog post.
Protein Foods And The Planet
To give you an idea, this scorecard from the World Resources Institute illustrates the differing GHG emissions per gram of protein from both animal and plant-based protein foods. Making just one pound of lamb generates five times more GHGs than making a pound of chicken and around 30 times more than making a pound of lentils. In the U.S. alone, beef accounts for 36% of all food-related GHG emissions. Beyond emissions, its also important to note that food production places an enormous demand upon our natural resources, as agriculture is a major contributor to deforestation, species extinction, and freshwater depletion and contamination.
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Proteins Are Made Of Amino Acids
Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids that link together in different combinations. Your body uses them to make new proteins, such as muscle and bone, and other compounds such as enzymes and hormones. It can also use them as an energy source.
Some amino acids can be made by your body there are 11 of these and theyre known as non-essential amino acids. There are nine amino acids that your body cannot make, and they are known as essential amino acids. You need to include enough of these in your diet so that your body can function.
Nutritional Value Of Protein
The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains.
Different foods contain different amounts of essential amino acids. Generally:
- Animal products have all of the essential amino acids and are known as ‘complete’ protein .
- Soy products, quinoa and the seed of a leafy green called amaranth also have all of the essential amino acids.
- Plant proteins usually lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.
People following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose a variety of protein sources from a combination of plant foods every day to make sure they get an adequate mix of essential amino acids. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually get the protein you need. For example, a meal containing cereals and legumes, such as baked beans on toast, provides all the essential amino acids found in a typical meat dish.
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Its All About The Protein Package
When we eat foods for protein, we also eat everything that comes alongside it: the different fats, fiber, sodium, and more. Its this protein package thats likely to make a difference for health.
The table below shows a sample of food packages sorted by protein content, alongside a range of components that come with it.
To call out a few examples:
- A 4-ounce broiled sirloin steak is a great source of proteinabout 33 grams worth. But it also delivers about 5 grams of saturated fat.
- A 4-ounce ham steak with 22 grams of protein has only 1.6 grams of saturated fat, but its loaded with 1,500 milligrams worth of sodium.
- 4 ounces of grilled sockeye salmon has about 30 grams of protein, naturally low in sodium, and contains just over 1 gram of saturated fat. Salmon and other fatty fish are also excellent sources of omega-3 fats, a type of fat thats especially good for the heart.
- A cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, and it has virtually no saturated fat or sodium.
What about protein powders?
I Always Start My Day With A Protein
Until I had a protein goal, breakfast was a pretty low-protein meal for me. I used to eat oatmeal with fruit or some on-the-go bar , but I soon realized that breakfast is one of the easier meals to pack protein into, regardless of your dietary preferences.
If you’re a vegan, and not soy-sensitive, an organic tofu scramble with veggies is a solid option. If you are soy-sensitive, pea protein smoothies are the perfect go-to. As a currently ovo-vegetarian, I love making scrambled eggs and adding extra egg whites to up the protein count . If you’re a pescatarian, you can add some smoked salmon to your eggs for another 11 grams. Regardless of my dietary preferences, I always fill out my plate with sauteed vegetables, like mushrooms, spinach, onion, and sweet potatothese add negligible protein, but they’re nutrient-dense and oh so delicious.
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Where Do Vegans Get Their Protein
Theres no shortage of lists of high-quality vegan protein sources. But as you might expect, theyre often topped by soy products , seitan, and legumes.
My personal favorite vegan foods for protein in rough, descending order of how often I eat them are:
- Lentils , 18 grams of protein per cup
- Chickpeas, 12 grams/cup
- Tempeh , 41 grams per cup
- Black beans, 15 grams per cup
- Nuts and nut butters , varied
- Tofu, 11 grams per 4 ounces
- Quinoa, 9 grams per cup
- Other legumes, varied
- Grains, varied
I often, but not always, add vegan protein powder to my smoothie each morning depending on my fitness goals at the time. My son, for example, is an athlete trying to gain weight on a vegan diet, so he always includes protein in his smoothie.
Smoothies, in general, are a great way to boost protein intake on a plant-based diet, since you can easily add lots of other high-protein ingredients like walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and almond butter, and even beans .
See my basic smoothie recipe for details on how much of each to add.
Why Is It Important To Eat A Variety Of Seafood Each Week
Seafood contains a range of nutrients, notably the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Eating about 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood, the amount recommended for many adults, as part of a healthy diet, can support health. Some types of fish, such as salmon and trout are also natural sources of vitamin D, a nutrient that many people don’t get enough of.
Seafood varieties commonly consumed in the United States that are higher in EPA and DHA and lower in a type of mercury, in the form of methylmercury, include salmon, anchovies, sardines, Pacific oysters, and trout. The amount of recommended seafood varies based on age, weight, and level of physical activity. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provide joint advice to limit methylmercury exposure from seafood for women who might become pregnant or who are pregnant or lactating and young children. See Advice About Eating Fish for more information.
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I Pair Lower Protein Sources With Higher Protein Sources Because It Really Does Add Up
Something I had to come to terms with when I started increasing my protein was that not every food out there is high in protein. Obvious, I know, but in the beginning I only ate foods that had the most grams per bite: protein powder, eggs, lentils, yogurt, anything that had 10 to 20 grams. As you can imagine, that strategy lost its sparkle fast, and I was eating large quantities of the same foods .
So instead, I began adding smaller sources of protein like chia seeds , hemp hearts , almond butter , and pumpkin seeds to my meals. Of course, I thought that 4 grams wouldn’t make much of a difference, but if I add some chia seeds to my smoothie, a tablespoon of hemp hearts to a salad, and snack on some pumpkin seeds, I’ve now consumed 17 grams of plant-based protein without tryingand that definitely makes a difference.
Meatless Protein: 7 Great Sources Of Protein Other Than Meat
Protein is often associated with weight-lifting and building lean muscle, but a diet high in protein can also help us maintain a healthy weight, build and repair muscle tissue, and curb our appetite. Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is considered a macronutrient which means we have to consume large amounts to stay healthy. According to the USDAs Recommended Dietary Allowances , we should take in between 10 to 35 percent of our daily calories from protein sources. Now, if you think the only way you can up your protein intake is by eating more steak and chicken, there are more protein sources in your diet other than meat.
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Non Meat Sources Of Protein
In the tables below I list many sources of protein that are not meat, fish or poultry. For reference a 3 oz chicken breast contains 28 grams of protein. Remember that these foods all have other benefits so dont choose them solely on the protein quantity. An example is almonds vs walnuts. Almonds have more protein, but walnuts have more omega 3 fatty acids and more magnesium.
Struggling To Cook Healthy We’ll Help You Prep
Some say Americans get adequate or even too much protein others argue we could safely eat more than whats recommended .
If youre looking to up your protein intake, that doesn’t necessarily translate to eat more meat. Plus, youre likely aware of ways to add meat-based protein to your diet with beef, chicken, turkey, seafood, etc. Though animal-based protein delivers all of the essential amino acids we need, you can absolutely get sufficient protein from plant-based sources.
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Why Is It Important To Choose A Variety Of Choices From The Protein Foods Group
Foods in the Protein Foods Group including meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, nuts, seeds, and soy products provide nutrients that are vital for the health and maintenance of your body. Many Americans meet the protein recommendations for meat, poultry, and eggs, but do not meet the recommendations for seafood or nuts, seeds, and soy products. Meeting the recommendations for these Protein Foods subgroups can help increase intake of important nutrients, including unsaturated fats, dietary fiber, and vitamin D and help to limit intake of sodium and saturated fats coming from processed meat and poultry.
Why Do We Need Protein
Forget the protein shakes, powders and supplements, let’s get back to basics. Protein is made up of smaller units called amino acids and is essential for repairing damaged cells and building new ones. It’s essential in the building of tissues, muscles and bones, so it’s important to make sure your body has what it needs.
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