When it comes to following a healthy diet, protein is sure to top the list. Protein is an essential part of one’s diet as it helps to supply energy and repair muscles. Even if you don’t plan to become a body builder or work out every day, your body needs to have its fair amount of daily protein.
But here’s the problem: most people think that the primary sources of protein come from animal products such as beef, pork or chicken. This can be a struggle if you’re a vegetarian or simply don’t like to eat meat. In fact, you don’t have to force yourself to eat meat just to meet your daily protein requirements.
Here are the 12 best non-meat protein foods to include in your diet.
Greek yogurt is low in calories and high in protein. Sounds too good to be true? Greek yogurt contains nearly 29g of protein per cup! Just one 100-calorie serving contains at least 18g, which makes it the perfect swap for sour cream and mayonnaise. Keep in mind that not all Greek yogurts are made equal as some contain almost 20g of sugar. Be sure to check the label.
Aside from being a protein powerhouse with 8g per cup, Quinoa is filled with vitamins and minerals including folate, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Unlike most meatless sources of protein, quinoa contains nine essential amino acids to make up a complete source of protein.
Did you know that oatmeal contains 3x more protein that brown rice? Oatmeal also contains less starch and more fiber along with B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium. Oatmeal is a favorite among trainers and kid-friendly.
Eggs may have gotten a bad reputation as many deemed it to be packed with cholesterol. However, when eaten in moderation, eggs can do wonders for your health. Eggs are rich in protein and loaded with choline. Studies also suggest that eggs may help increase HDL – the good cholesterol. Just one large egg contains 7g of protein.
When it comes to vegetarian food, lentils are a top favorite. These flavorful beans are filled with folate, B vitamins, fiber, and protein – a whole 18g per cup! Lentils are also said to play a large effect on your heart as adding beans could help lower blood pressure and improve your overall heart health.
As one of the richest sources of antioxidants, black beans contain a high source of antioxidants and less starch that other beans. You can add them to your rice or even make black bean tacos. A half-cup serving of black beans contains 8g of protein.
Also known as garbanzo beans, this little chickpea is a protein powerhouse that contains nearly 14g of protein per cup. Research also tells us that eating ¼ cup of chickpeas a day can help cut down your LDL or bad cholesterol level.
Edamame contains nearly 16g of protein per cup – making it a great appetizer or pre-workout snack. This Japanese favorite is filled with tons of protein and contains as much fiber as four slices of whole-wheat bread. Be sure to cook the edamame to preserve its nutrients gently. Boiling it can release the nutrients from the edamame.
What used to be a boring vegan protein is now a favorite from breaks to dinner and even dessert. You can add any flavor you want to tofu as it adds a rich, creamy or chewy texture to your meals. Just one cup of tofu contains 10g of protein.
This soybean-based ingredient contains 31g per cup. While it may taste quite boring on its own, Tempeh is a great meat substitute for sandwiches, burgers, and stir-fries. You can even marinade tempeh with soy sauce for a quick, high-protein dish.
Believe it or not, these tiny seeds contain 9.4g of protein in just two tablespoons. Not to mention, chia seeds contains a high fiber content and omega-3s to boost your brain. Just one service contains zinc, magnesium, calcium, and iron. You can add chia seeds to your smoothies, yogurt bowls, jams, and just about anything.
Did you know that just two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 8g of protein and 2g of healthy fiber? In fact, peanut butter is also known to contain healthy monounsaturated fats. Just be sure to stay away from the high-sugar containers and reduced fat. Why reduced fat? Sugar is usually added to the mix to make up for the loss of fats.
Comment below and tell us your favorite non-meat source of protein!