“Where do you get your protein?” is probably the number one question you should never ask a vegetarian. Now that more people are shifting towards a meat-free lifestyle, people question the nutritional content of this type of diet. For instance, too many of us think that meat is the only source of protein. Whether you’re going meatless for Mondays or you’re turning over a new leaf, you should know that there are SEVERAL ways you can get your protein without slaughtering an animal.
Just a little bit of bio for you before we get started: proteins are a macronutrient, and they’re composed of micronutrients called amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are about 20 amino acids in a protein, 9 of which we cannot create by ourselves. So when we say something is a complete protein, this means the food contains those essential amino acids.
It’s important to note that not all plant-based sources of protein are complete sources of protein. But with a few combinations, you can easily create a complete source. We’ll let you know how to do so below!
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt has about 10 grams of protein for every cup. But beware: not all Greek yogurts are created equally. Always be mindful of the extra ingredients added. Yogurt comes from milk, which has its own special sugars, but any added sugars will be listed in the ingredients list. Try out the Chiobani brand of Yogurt for low to no sugar added.
Animal products (such as milk, eggs, cheese) are complete sources of protein, so there’s no need to combine the Greek yogurt with anything else to fulfill the requirement.
Soy is one of the few plant-based foods that contains all the amino acids we can’t produce on our own. And it’s STUFFED with protein. In fact, according to the USDA, a cup of soybeans yields about 68 GRAMS. You read that correctly.
But that doesn’t mean you should scoop up a cup of soy beans and swallow them whole. Uncooked soybeans are pretty toxic.
Instead, learn to cook them, transform them into tofu, tempeh, soymilk, veggie burgers, whatever—soy is quite versatile.
If you’ve never tried soy before, you’re in for a surprise. Because it’s so versatile, it’s kind of disgusting if you don’t season it properly because it has no flavor by itself. So try your hand at a few recipes. Might we suggest this barbecue tofu recipe for you?
3. Rice and (Black) Beans
Black beans have about 39 grams of protein, which is phenomenal, but beans are also considered an insufficient source of protein. Luckily, rice adds those other few amino acids that beans lack. Not only is it nutritious, but the combination is completely affordable. It’s a reason the duo is a staple for many countries.
When choosing rice, try to go for brown rice. Contrasting white rice, brown rice hasn’t been heavily process to the point where most of its nutrients are ripped away. Brown rice has about 4 grams of fiber (compared to white rice’s embarrassing .6 grams), which will help keep you full.
4. Peanut butter and Bread
This is another complete protein combination. Rule of thumb is if you have a nut, you can combine it with a grain, and if you have a grain, you can combine it with a legume (beans) to create a complete protein. So, technically you could combine peanut butter with rice but that sounds gross.
Peanut butters have about 7- 8 grams of protein per tablespoon. And because no one can have just one tablespoon of peanut butter, you could possibly be consuming 16 grams of protein from just a peanut butter sandwich.
However, like other butters, peanut butter is quite high in fat. Fat is a necessity for many bodily functions, but like everything else, too much of a good thing is a bad thing! Peanut butter sandwiches are great for those that want to gain weight the healthy way or build muscle, but if that doesn’t align with your fitness goals, you might not want to overindulge.
If you want something as quick and protein-packed as peanut butter but don’t want the excess fat, eggs are another way to go. And yes, you can—and should—eat the yolk.
The yolk is the most nutritious part of the egg so throwing it out won’t help too much with the protein aspect of your diet. And in fact, a study by the Food Chemistry journal concluded that eating eggs regularly can decrease your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
And in a similar study, the results concluded that even with people that have cholesterol issues, eggs can still be a part of their meals, just in moderation (4-6 eggs a week). Nonetheless, if you’re healthy, you should limit the amount of cholesterol you intake to 300 mg a day.
This list honestly can go on and on: milk, hummus, Ezekiel bread. Obtaining protein from plant-based sources isn’t as challenging as people think. In reality, everything has at least a bit of protein in it. And creating complete sources from incomplete ones just involves a tiny bit of addition. Refer to this infographic to help you out.
(provided by Prep-blog.com)
What is your favorite plant-based food/s to eat to get in your protein?