Going on a meatless diet is a challenge. For one, man is naturally an omnivore, and many really love their meat too. So, purposely avoiding meat takes a lot of dedication. There are a few important health issues regarding this as well. A person gets most of his protein from meat, and switching to a meatless diet will require one to seriously think about where he’ll get his body’s daily requirement of this vital element.
Although meat products are rich in protein, you don’t have to despair about where to get this essential component especially if you’re considering becoming a vegetarian. There are several other food sources that contain high amounts of protein, and you won’t have to worry about becoming weak or unhealthy because of deficiency.
All kinds of nuts, like almond, pistachio, cashews, pecans, and walnuts, are good protein sources. Those who prefer smoother preparations could opt for peanut or almond butter. Nuts are very familiar and readily available; plus, they’re easy to prepare too. You can make a trail mix using a variety of nuts and have this whenever you’re feeling hunger pangs. Nuts will give you high energy and loads of essential nutrients as well. One concern is that a lot of preparations contain high amounts of salt. The US FDA suggests choosing unsalted varieties to reduce sodium intake.
Depending on what kind of seed you’re having, a ¼ of a cup will give you about 5 to 10 grams of protein. There are several ways to add seeds to your diet. You can eat them roasted, such as pumpkin, squash or watermelon seeds, or use them as toppings for cakes or salads. Other popular varieties are sesame and sunflower seeds. But though these will provide you with protein, if you want something that packs more punch, choose quinoa. The seeds of the quinoa plant are ground into flour, and this can be used in many kinds of dishes.
Beans, chickpeas, and lentils are collectively known as legumes. A lot of health experts recommend that you get your daily requirement of protein largely from legumes as these are more affordable and contain complete proteins that your body needs.
Beans are popular ingredients in many savory dishes, as well as light snacks or salads. Some are more adventurous in cooking beans, and you’ll find them creating veggie burgers using affordable starchy beans, which include kidney, lima, and navy.
Soybeans and Soy Products
Soybeans are also legumes. These are very versatile – you’ll find so many preparations, like tofu and soy milk. If you do not particularly like the consistency of tofu, try tempeh, which is more chewy and flavorful. Some even say that burger lovers will be able to appreciate the taste and texture of tempeh; and it packs more protein than tofu.
Grains are often used to create pasta and bread. In some countries, various kinds of rice are also essential parts of the diet. Whole-grains, which are food items that still have their bran and germ, are the healthier options. These contain more vitamins, minerals, as well as phytochemicals, which are plant compounds that are very beneficial to man.
Milk, cheese, and yogurt, including ice cream, are also very good sources of protein, and these also contain calcium, phosphorus, and other vitamins and minerals. You can get about 30 to 40 grams of protein in 100 grams of cheese, depending on the kind of cheese that you’re having. Parmesan, particularly the low-sodium variety, is one of the best options.
Eggs – enjoy them scrambled, boiled, deviled, or whatever preparation you prefer. You can add them to salads or sandwiches, and have them whenever you want. Eggs are easy to cook and these will give your body some of the body-building protein it needs. Health experts recommend eggs because these contain beneficial amino acids.
All in all, you don’t have to worry about dying from protein deprivation just because you’re swearing off meat products. You have so many alternative sources. If you’re not giving up the meat, you can still include the above-mentioned examples in your diet as these are nutritious and these will offer you variety too.