If you’ve ever openly talked about being vegetarian, vegan or plant-based, you’ve probably been asked the question: “How do you get enough protein?” This question, almost always, is silly to me considering how many foods besides meat contain proteins. It’s just important to be knowledgeable about protein sources and protein intake when choosing to go plant-based. Here are some of the many ways you can still get in a fair amount of protein without eating meat!
One of the most popular alternative protein sources is soy. Soy products are great because they can be used in a vast variety of cuisines, just like meat, and there are many options to choose from. Tofu is one of its most well-like forms due to its versatility and can be used in scrambles, rice bowls, soups, smoothies and more! However, many people do not enjoy the texture of tofu, so tempeh may be a better option. Like tofu, tempeh is a soy product but it is less processed because the soybeans have not been broken down. Personally, I prefer tempeh so much more because it is dense and can quickly absorb whatever flavor you choose to season it with. My favorite use of tempeh is for teriyaki rice bowls or even as salad toppers. Additionally, soy protein powders are very popular and are a fantastic way to sneak in some extra protein into smoothies.
Moreover, beans are an excellent protein option with lots of versatility. My personal favorite is garbanzo beans because they go with so many different food combinations and have a great taste. Whether you choose to roast them in the oven to make them crunchy, blend them to make homemade hummus or just throw them on top of a salad, they can completely spice up a meal. Black, pinto and kidney beans are also all great sources of protein that can be cooked in a variety of ways. A useful tip for anyone plant-based is to cook beans in bulk and then store the leftovers in the fridge so you always have a tasty protein source on hand!
Another noteworthy protein source is lentils. They are fairly easy to cook on the stovetop and make a great cooked addition to any meal. Some of lentils’ most popular uses are in soups, hot sandwiches and veggie burgers. In fact, many grocery stores now even carry lentil pasta for a healthier and more protein-filled pasta dish.
Beyond these main protein staples, there also tons of foods that you may not know contain a good amount of protein. This includes almonds, pumpkin seeds, peas, quinoa, artichokes, asparagus, eggs and broccoli. Deciding to cut out meat doesn’t mean you’ll be in a protein deficit. There are so many ways to maintain your nutrition as well as keep your meals interesting and balanced!