We all know that protein is an essential macronutrient that helps with your overall satiety. It is naturally occurring in so many foods. But most of it is found in animal products like meats.
So, what if you are vegetarian – what are your protein options then? You may be pleasantly surprised to learn how many options you have!
You can consider soy products like extra firm tofu and lesser-known tempeh. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and is a great source of probiotics as well.
You can also incorporate seitan, which is a wheat gluten. 3.5 ounces of it is a whopping 25 grams of protein!
Another source of protein for vegetarians comes from beans and legumes. Lentils provide about 18 grams in one cup cooked. Chickpeas are a great source as well, so why not have some hummus as an afternoon snack. Other beans that are really good protein sources are black and pinto bean, northern beans, and mung beans. These sources have some carbohydrates, but also have a good amount of fiber.
Another less known option is nutritional yeast. It comes as small flakes which, when sprinkled on food, adds a cheesy or nutty flavor. And more importantly, one ounce is about 14 grams of protein. And don’t forget about hempseed, which can be a delicious protein rich addition to a salad or roasted vegetables.
And speaking of vegetables, did you know that peas are a great source of protein – about 9 grams in one cup cooked. And don’t forget about edamame, which are basically young immature soybeans, eaten shelled or in pods.
And, unless you are vegan, dairy foods are another great source. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese have some of the highest amounts of protein. Just remember to buy plain yogurt or plain cottage cheese to keep the sugars low – you can always add some berries of your own if needed. Of course, eggs are a great option and can be eaten in so many different ways.
Finally, keep in mind some of the cheeses, like gruyere, hard parmesan, and cheddar, when eaten in moderate amounts, can provide a decent amount of protein.