Who says that you have to rely on soy as the only alternative protein source? Maybe ten or twenty years ago, that was the case, but now we know that protein exists in a plethora of invaluable sources, including vegetables and nuts. Here’s how to add protein to your diet without relying on meat or tofu.
Consider Adding Quinoa to Your Diet
In the past few years, quinoa has seen an upsurge in the food world, earning a reputation as one of those superfoods you hear so much about. Just one cup provides you with a punch of protein—eight grams, to be exact. Quinoa is also an unbeatable source of manganese and magnesium, along with iron and fiber. Even if you do nothing more than add cooked, cooled quinoa to your salad, feel free to introduce this powerhouse of protein into your diet.
Chop That Broccoli
Lots of vegetables are protein powerhouses. Broccoli, in particular, is chock full of it. Eat a cup of the bushy vegetable, and you get five grams of protein. You might not be able to turn broccoli into a main dish, but it’s a tasty side dish, plus you can snack on raw broccoli with hummus or a Greek yogurt-based dipping sauce. Every little bit helps.
Celebrate Your Love of Lentils
Lentils aren’t just for soup, although they are the perfect ingredient for it. A half a cup of lentils equals out to nine grams of protein. You can’t beat that. The only problem with lentils is that they take upwards of half an hour to cook correctly, but as long as you’re patient and you have excellent time-management skills, lentils can still become an integral part of your meal plan.
Beans, Beans, Beans
Practically every type of bean you can imagine has more protein than you can shake a stick at. Kidney beans, brown beans, and white beans make tasty side dishes or full-blown meals. They’re also delicious in soups and salads. The same goes for chickpeas or garbanzo beans. One cup of chickpeas nets you 12 grams of protein. You know what that means, don’t you? Keep scarfing down that hummus to your heart’s content—it’s good for you!
Consume Some Crickets
Crickets are basically all protein. No fake. A single cricket is up to 70 percent protein. That’s why people turn to cricket flour or powder as a source of protein. For that matter, plenty of brands now market snacks and protein bars that contain whole crickets. Are you brave enough to try a buggy source of protein?
Get a Little Nutty
Nuts have more protein than you can ever imagine. They get a bad reputation because many nuts also contain fats. Here’s the thing, though: nuts are full of healthy fats. As long as you don’t add tons of salt and sugar, you can not only snack on nuts and add them to your meals and desserts, but you can also incorporate various nut butters into your diet.
Try Some Tempeh
Never heard of tempeh? In a way, it’s another version of soy, which you already know to be full of protein. Tempeh comes from soybeans that have been fermented. That doesn’t sound very appealing, but once you taste it, you won’t want to get your protein from any other source. Tempeh lends itself well to a variety of recipes because, by itself, it’s quite bland. As such, it basically becomes a vehicle for the herbs, spices, and flavorings that you use.
Or Stick with Seitan
Seitan is a protein that’s a bit like tempeh, except it comes from wheat gluten instead of soy. As such, it’s a palatable alternative not just for people who don’t want to eat meat, but also for anyone who’s not a huge fan of soy. What’s neat about seitan is that you can treat it just like you treat meat, which allows you to get creative when you cook with it. For example, you can braise it, broil it in the oven, or even grill it. You’ll find it a bit chewier than soy-based products or tofu, which adds to its meat-like texture.
Spoon Up Some Yogurt
All yogurt contains protein, but Greek yogurt boasts twice as much. Thick, tart, and creamy, Greek yogurt is healthy for you all the way around. Again, just exercise caution when you buy it, particularly if you’re vegan. Stay away from brands that use gelatin or carmine. Try to avoid anything with an abundance of extra fats and sugars, as well – you don’t need that! Use plain Greek yogurt as a base in dressings, dips, and breakfast—just add your own flavorings to keep it healthy.
Which protein alternative are you eager to try first? Let us know in the comments below!