The most common question a vegetarian, vegan or even just someone who chooses to eat meat occasionally is asked is, “Where do you get all your protein from?” There is a major misconception in our society that meat and animal products are the only way to get a sufficient amount of protein. Additionally, considering an individuals lifestyle and diet, there is also a lot of confusion about how much protein the average person actually needs.
Although our bodies break down foods and nutrients in different ways than many animals, it is still interesting to consider that some of the largest and strongest animals on Earth grow and survive off of a purely plant based diet.
The list of non-animal based proteins is quite large and adding all of that variety to your diet is bound to get you all of the amino acids your body needs. Here is a list of 15 vegetarian approved protein sources you can add to any of your next meals!
If you are lifting weights, looking to make some serious gains and worry that you aren’t getting the protein you need without supplements, there are still plenty of great options, including plant based protein powders! In the meantime check out this list of tasty items you can add to your next grocery run:
- Peas- 1/2 a cup contains 3.5g of protein
- Peanut butter- 2 tbsp contains 8g of protein
- Potato- medium sized contains 3g of protein
- Broccoli- 1/2 a cup contains 2g of protein
- Brussels sprouts- 1 cup contains 4g of protein *Plus lots of potassium and vitamin K!*
- Corn- 1 cup contains 4g of protein
- Quinoa- 1 cup cooked contains 8g of protein *Also full of fiber, iron, magnesium and manganese!*
- Hempseed- 2tbsp contains 10g of protein *Can be used in lots of yummy recipes!*
- Chia- 2tbsp contains 4g of protein
- Ezekial bread- 2 slices contains 8g of protein
- Spirulina- 10g (about 2 teaspoons) contains 5.7g of protein
- Chlorella-10g contains about 5.8g of protein
- Lentils- 1 cup boiled contains about 18g of protein
- Almonds- 2 tbsp contains 4g of protein
- Kale- 1 1/2 cups contains about 4.3g of protein
If switching to a whole foods plant based diet is out of the question for you, you’re not alone! Instead of going cold turkey (no pun intended) or shunning the idea altogether try just being more mindful about the animal protein that you are consuming. Where is it coming from, is it processed, how often are you eating it and in what portion sizes? If you must have animal protein, try buying from your local farmers. This greatly reduces the chances of encountering the negative aspects that may come with meat eating, including the meat being highly processed, the animals being mistreated, and of course the overall quality of the meat.
Additionally, learn about how much protein you actually need for your body type, lifestyle and goals, and reduce your portion sizes to meet that requirement while factoring in the protein you are getting from foods like the list above. Keep in mind that often times the way we cook our meat completely denatures it and ruins many if not most of the nutrients you are hoping to gain. All of these factors are Important to consider when talking about our protein sources and doing so will help ensure that your body gets exactly what it needs to perform at an optimal level.