When you think of adding protein to your diet do you always think of dairy, chicken, fish, eggs or beef? Yes, protein is key when building lean muscle, reducing muscle loss and to help repair muscle tissue post-workout. While lean proteins, eggs, and low fat dairy are all wonderful options, animal proteins aren’t the only way to get sufficient amounts of protein in your diet.
Now let’s be honest, I enjoy my meat and potatoes too, however, animal proteins don’t always have to be your only choice when adding protein to your diet. With the plethora of nutritious vegetarian protein options available out there, delicious meal ideas and variety is endless. Foods like chia seeds, various nuts, beans and quinoa are all high in protein, provide healthy fats and other essential vitamins and minerals. Whether we’re vegetarians or not, having a well-rounded diet that includes vegetarian proteins at least three times a week is extremely beneficial. Including vegetarian proteins into your diet can help to lower cholesterol, manage weight, manage hormones, help remove toxins from the body, increase metabolism and provide an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals to aid in nourishing your body.
Here are just a few nutrient dense, vegetarian protein options to include into your diet:
- Spirulina (highly digestible)
- Green Beans
- Chia Seeds
- Goji-Berries (contain 15x more iron than spinach!)
- Hemp Hearts
- Unsalted Nuts (Almonds, Cashews, Brazil Nuts)
- Nutritional Yeast (1 oz of flakes contains 14g of protein and only 79calories)
- All Natural Nut Butters
- Maca Powder
- Beans and Lentils
- Tempeh (a fermented form of soy high in protein)
- Cashew & Almond Milk
How often do you include vegetarian proteins when meal planning? Do you have any favourite vegetarian recipes high in protein? Let me know if the comments below!