One of the biggest concerns many people have when going on a vegetarian diet is finding reliable, tasty, and affordable sources of protein. While those making the switch to vegetarianism, there’s no denying that beef and other red meat is a cheap, effective way to get the protein your body needs.
However, if you’re ready to make the switch and become a vegetarian, there are some legitimately viable options for protein for vegetarians. Let’s take a look at just a few of them, to give you an idea of the breadth of options available that can suit any dietary need and want.
Using dietary supplements requires research on your part to ensure that you’re getting a supplement that actually delivers on its promises – and doesn’t contain any extra, unnecessary – and potentially unhealthy – ingredients. One of those great supplements is the Love and Peas protein powder we offer here at Nature’s Sunshine. It’s one of the most popular protein replacements for vegetarians, as it contains 20 grams of vegetable protein per serving, 75% of your required daily dose of vitamins and minerals, a powerful antioxidant blend, and is friendly to anyone who is lactose or gluten intolerant.
The wide range of applications for this product just underscore the fact that finding great, effective, and healthy ways to replace protein in a vegetarian diet isn’t as difficult as you might have originally thought.
If you’re a fan of couscous, you’ll likely enjoy quinoa. It looks very similar to couscous, but it’s far more nutritious. It’s so packed full of important proteins, NASA hopes to grow it on space flights between planets, should we ever advance that far in our space travels.
It’s used in a ton of different foods, too. From muffins to cookies and even a hearty breakfast casserole, quinoa is yet another great source of protein.
In 1 cup of cooked buckwheat, you’ll get 6 grams of protein – not a bad haul at all considering that this isn’t actually wheat, but a cousin to rhubarb. It’s most often used, though, as a gluten-free wheat substitute. The seeds of buckwheat are ground into a flour, which is great for pancakes, chili, and even making pasta noodles. Buckwheat’s even been proven to help balance out your blood sugar and improve circulation. Most importantly, it packs the protein punch you’ll miss out on if you cut meat entirely from your diet without any viable replacement options with which you can work.
Beans and rice
Eventually we had to arrive here, right? The best thing about beans and rice is the fact that they’re cheap, easy to make, and packed full of other nutrients in addition to the protein your body needs to properly function. In fact, beans and rice, when served and eaten together, contain a protein content just about equal to that of a similar serving of meat.
Sound impossible? While a healthy dose of skepticism is good to have, especially in matters where diet are concerned, this fact is true. In addition rice is full of carbs, so when you get finished with a big workout, or you need to carb-load for a big run in a week, you can pack it on with rice and beans and know you’re getting the right type of carbs, in addition to the protein that makes this a go-to meal for vegetarians.
The ol’ PB&J
The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a staple at nearly every school in America, and many others across the world. It’s tasty, quick, and best of all? There’s 15
grams of protein per sandwich, when that sandwich is made with two slices of bread and at least two tablespoons of peanut butter.
If you want to make things a bit more interesting, you can toast some wheat bread and slather all-natural peanut butter on it for a higher-calorie meal. While high calories may or may not be your favorite thing, the combination of wheat bread and peanut butter deliver your essential amino acids – which are coincidentally building blocks to help your body process and digest proteins – and those healthy fats as well. Peanut butter isn’t quite in the “superfood” category like kale, but it’s pretty close, and for good reason.
For the traditionalist who loves a hearty breakfast, eggs are another solid protein option. With roughly 6 grams of protein per egg, you know that combining them with a bit of soy milk to make scrambled eggs and wheat toast with peanut butter is one protein-packed meal. They’re also high in the right kinds of fats, keep your hunger urges under control so you can actually eat less and still feel full, and they contain a nutrient that plays a role in both the burning of fat and the health of your brain.
While going vegetarian may sound daunting at first, there are a lot of different ways to get the same nutrition you would if you continued to eat meat. No matter your reason for becoming a vegetarian, you can rest assured that with a bit of work and the desire to get creative, you’ll have tasty, healthy, sustainable options for protein on your dinner table each night.
This is another staple on the vegetarian food circuit. While some people have to use soy-based products due to a problem with lactose, its been a go-to for protein for a long time. You can make just about anything from soybeans, so the products are wide-ranging which is good if you like a really diverse diet or are a bit picky in what you eat.
From dry roasted soybeans, which pack a whopping 18 grams of protein, to soy milk or the traditional Indonesian dish consisting of fermented soy – called tempeh, which is a great substitute for lunch meat on sandwiches, surprisingly enough – the only limits to what you can do with soy are what you think you can do.