If you’ve ever talked to someone about dropping meat from your diet and switching to a plant-based one, the common refrain is that you won’t be able to get enough protein. These individuals more than likely have your best interests at heart, especially when they’re friends or family members – they usually approve of your dedication to eating healthier, but don’t want to see your nutrition suffering as a result. However, just because you’re not eating meat anymore doesn’t mean you’re going to end up with a protein deficiency.
The truth is that there are plenty of protein sources out there that are plant-based. It goes deeper than just replacing meat with tofu – there are all sorts of vegetables, beans, seeds, and legumes out there that are fantastic ways to provide much-needed protein for your body. It will take some serious dedication to keeping your diet balanced properly when you’re substituting in non-meat sources of protein, but it’s absolutely possible; don’t let anyone tell you different. Here are some of the best ways to get your protein without having to rely on eating meat.
The Exhaustive List
There’s no dearth of foods out there that you can rely on for protein replacement. While one or two of them together might not be able to add up enough to provide you the kind of nutrition you would get from lean meat protein, incorporating several of them into your diet in moderate amounts can ensure that your body gets the complete protein it needs. The types of foods you should be considering include:
- Soy-based foods – Most of the meat-replacement soy products like imitation hamburger patties, hot dogs, and bacon are excellent sources of protein, but since they tend to be highly processed it’s better to stick with less doctored foods like tofu.
- Dark green leafy vegetables – A good rule of thumb is the darker green the vegetable, the better a source of protein. One of the best choices would be spinach and broccoli, as 1 cup of each grants you 13 grams and 6.8 grams of protein respectively.
- Nuts and seeds – Nuts and nut butters, seeds, and legumes are all excellent sources of protein. In addition, many of these will also offer the kinds of supplemental nutrition that help even more like Omega-3 fatty acids, usually only found in seafood.
- Dairy and egg sources – Unless you’re a pure vegan, the occasional egg in the morning is a powerhouse of beneficial protein. Dairy products like milk and cheese are also high in protein as well; meanwhile, many protein powders and shakes use whey protein as a main ingredient.