How to stock up on protein if you don’t eat meat

By: Dr. Victor Marchione | Healthy Eating | Saturday, July 18, 2015 - 04:35 AM

protein foodsThere seems to be a trend to go meatless. According to the USDA, 400 million fewer animals were slaughtered for food. But why go meatless?

Well there are many reasons to ditch the meat. For some it comes down to religious beliefs. For others they feel a moral responsibility to care for the earth and animals. Whatever your reasoning may be, it seems many other Americans are jumping on the bandwagon.

One main concern when removing meat from one’s diet is protein. Protein is essential for human life so much so it can be found in every cell. Protein not only works to repair the body, but it also helps it grow, so protein is essential.

Of course meat contains protein and that’s why so many people consume it. But if you don’t eat meat, what are some protein alternatives? Don’t be worried that your options are limited; protein can be found in meat alternatives so you can still get your fix. Here is a list of meat alternatives that will ensure you’re getting adequate protein.

6 meat alternatives to pack on the protein

Quinoa health benefitsQuinoa: Quinoa, most commonly referred to as a whole grain, is actually a seed. But don’t let this seed fool you, it packs a protein punch. Per cup, quinoa provides up to eight grams of protein along with essential amino acids – these are used for muscle repair and growth.

Because of quinoa’s versatility it can be enjoyed year round in a number of dishes. Whether on its own, or used as a side dish, quinoa is a great source of protein.

health benefits of walnutsNuts: Nuts are a source of healthy fats along with protein. Nuts are a great portable snack that can keep you full and energized. Almonds, cashews and pistachios are just some good nut options, but be mindful of their caloric intake. Eating too many nuts can add on the calories quick, so keep them to a minimum.

beans Beans: This source of protein may be more common. Two cups of beans can offer 26 grams of protein – two times the amount of a McDonald’s hamburger! The best part about beans is how easy they store and how quick they are to make. If you purchase the canned variety all you need to do is rinse them off and they are ready to go. Better yet, mixing varieties together can give you different flavor options.

protein foods to eat everydayChickpeas: Half a cup of chickpeas will provide 7.3 grams of protein, not bad for these tiny legumes. Chickpeas can be enjoyed in a numerous ways from roasting, to adding them to soups to even blending them to turn them into a spreadable hummus.

health benefits of chia seedsChia seeds: Did you know about two tablespoons of chia seeds is enough to replace the nutritional content of an egg? It’s true! If you’re worried about your cholesterol, chia seeds should be your go-to. They also provide a healthy dose of fiber to combat cholesterol and keep you regular.

Chia seeds can be added to morning shakes, on top of salads or, if left to soak, can be used as a pudding.

Foods Serving size Protein content
Quinoa 1 cup 8 grams
Nuts 1 ounce 5 to 6 grams
Beans 2 cups 26 grams
Chickpeas ½ cup 7.3 grams
Chia seeds 1 ounce 4.7 grams

Whey protein: If you’re looking for protein in supplement form, look no further than whey protein. Whey comes from the watery portion of milk, which separates when making cheese. Not only is whey high in protein, but it’s a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. Whey protein is also useful for weight loss as well as treating cholesterol.

As a powder, whey protein can be added to shakes and smoothies.

If you’re thinking about swapping out meat, these are just some of the alternatives to provide you with the protein your body requires. Whether you plan to embark on the meatless Monday trend, or want to make a life change, these options are delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet.

Related Reading:

Health benefits of quinoa

The buzz surrounding quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Quinoa has been hailed a superfood and for good reason, too. Its high protein and fiber content, along with being gluten-free, has given it quite the star power. Continue reading…

9 amazing benefits of chia seeds

What if we told you a solution that by simply adding a small amount – no more than two tablespoons – of this superfood to your diet you can boost your meals and make them even healthier! Hard to believe but let us further explain…The superfood we’re referring to is chia seeds – they can pack a nutritional punch and offer many health benefits. Continue reading…


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