Please leave a comment below to welcome our newest guest poster, John Smith, to the blog today ~ Mel
If you normally consume a great deal of meat, you may find it initially quite difficult to adapt to vegetarian alternatives.
However, more and more people are adding vegetarian options to their menu on a regular basis. One of the reasons for this is that good cuts of meat are exorbitantly expensive, and given the economy, many of us need to cut back a little.
12 high protein alternatives to meat
Seitan is made from wheat, and the texture is actually very similar to that of wheat. Seitan is the most densely-packed source of vegetable protein known, with 20 to 30 grams of protein in a four-ounce portion. You can add Seitan to your favorite dishes and it will pass for meat, so it is pretty versatile.
Soy protein is not just very healthy, but is also low in fat, and contains phytochemicals such as saponins, phytc acid and isoflavones. Soy protein and its associated phytochemicals are thought to help reduce heart disease, osteoporosis and the risk of cancer. It contains around 29 grams of protein per cup.
Tofu has been an Asian staple for 2,000 years. Known for its nutritional benefits, it is a versatile food, that can be eaten raw in salads, or steamed, cooked or baked. It is basically soy curd, like soft cheese. Bland and slightly sweet, tofu absorbs other flavors beautifully, which makes this food really easy to cook with.
The king of all nuts, almonds are high in calcium and protein. They are also low in carbohydrate, and make an excellent and filling snack. A great source of natural fiber, almonds can be eaten raw, roasted, ground and added to salads, stews, shakes and baking, amongst other things.
Natural, bio yogurt is high in calcium, living cultures and protein. Try to make it one of your snacks each day. It can be eaten plain, or with some fruit added, blended into a smoothies, or added to main meals, such as curry and soups.
Tempeh is a high protein meat alternative, which is widely used in Thailand and Indonesia. It is made from fermented soy beans, and has a nutty flavor, which tastes very good when fried. It can taste quite bland, however, so I recommend marinading it before cooking.
7. Legumes And Beans
Legumes such as black beans, lentils and chickpeas, or beans such as French, broadbeans and runners, make excellent sources of protein. They are filling, contain good quantities of fiber, and are super cheap. A cup of almost any starchy bean contains 12 to 15 grams of protein, with a cup of lentils providing 18 grams of protein.
Cheeses of all types are excellent sources of protein. Try organic cheddar or mozzarella cheeses along with your pasta, salads, soups and sandwiches. Cheese does contain a considerable amount of fat, however, so make sure you factor the correct portions into your diet — around 1 ounce per day is enough.
The highly nutritious quinoa is called the “Mother Grain” of the Andes. Quinoa is high in protein, high in iron, and contains the necessary amino acids. It has a pleasant nutty flavor, which many people like, and takes less time to cook than rice. It may be eaten with steamed vegetables, gravies, or cooked and served cold in salads. You can also buy quinoa flour and pasta, so it is extremely versatile.
Mel: Check out the comments under this post on Dietriffic, for lots of suggestions on what to do with quinoa from our readers.
For a green vegetable, broccoli is pretty high in protein. It contains around 5 grams of protein per cup, which is pretty good for a vegetable, so try to make it one of your veg portions each day.
Follow in Pop-Eye’s footsteps and get 3 grams of protein per cup of spinach. You can eat baby spinach leaves raw in salads, or it can be steamed, added to curries, stews and soups, etc. Try not to overcook your greens, though, as they will lose their taste and a certain amount of their nutritional value. For best taste, lightly steam spinach and eat it seasoned with black pepper and a little olive oil.
Milk is so common place in almost every home that people don’t think of it as a source of protein. But, 1 cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein. As we all know it is a very versatile food. You can drink it straight from the carton, add it to your tea and coffee, or use it in any number of dishes and desserts.
Mel: Check out my previous article on protein sources for vegetarians.