How to Get Your Protein Needs Without Eating Meat

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Protein is an important element of a well-balanced and healthy diet. But did you know that it is possible to meet your protein requirements without eating meat?

To meet your protein needs, it is important to eat small amounts of protein for the rest of the day, to make sure the body has enough supply whenever needed. The quality of protein is also very important.

Dairy foods and eggs are complete proteins, as these foods contain all of the essential amino acids. Most plant-based proteins, on the other hand, except some grains and soy beans, are considered to be incomplete proteins.

Therefore you should try to consume a variety of different protein sources for the rest of the day to provide all of these essential amino acids.

How to Get Your Protein Needs Without Eating Meat

1. Legumes

Lentil, beans and peas all belong to the food group, know as legumes. Legumes are rich in protein, iron and fiber as well. You can add legumes into your meals to replace meat, while still getting your much needed protein.

Legumes, 1 cup cookedProteinCaloriesFiber
Soybeans29 g29810 g
Lentils18 g23016 g
Split peas16 g23116 g
Navy beans16 g25812 g
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)15 g26912 g
Black beans15 g22715 g
Kidney beans15 g22511 g
Lima beans15 g21613 g
Pinto beans14 g23415 g

2. Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of protein. Almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios and pine nuts. While halzelnuts and chestnuts contain the lowest protein. Also nuts provide fiber, antioxidant (vitamins A and E) and heart-healthy fatty acids.

Nuts, 1/4 cupProteinCaloriesFat
Peanuts, raw9 g20718 g
Almonds, dry roasted8 g20618 g
Pistachios6 g17114 g
Hazelnuts5 g21221 g
Pine nuts5 g22923 g
Cashews, raw5 g19716 g
Walnuts4 g16416 g

3. Seeds

Seeds contains phytochemicals and unsaturated fats, that helps a lot in fighting heart disease and preventing cancer. You can use sunflower seeds in salads and pasta and sesame seeds on steamed vegetables.

Seeds (1/4 cup)ProteinCaloriesFat
Hemp seeds15 g23218 g
Pumpkin seeds, roasted9 g18716 g
Flaxseed8 g19113 g
Sunflower seeds, roasted8 g20518 g
Sesame seeds, roasted6 g20618 g
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4. Soy

Soy’s protein content are comparable to that of animal proteins. It is considered to be nutrition’s utility player. Between soy milk, tofu, tempeh and vegetable burger, take your pick!

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Soy FoodsProteinCaloriesFat
Soybeans, 1 cup cooked29 g29810 g
Tempeh, 4 oz cooked21 g22313 g
Edamame, 1 cup shelled20 g24010 g
TVP, 1/4 cup dry12 g800 g
Soy nuts, 1/4 cup roasted11 g2001 g
Tofu, 4 oz raw9 g865 g
Soy nut butter, 2 tablespoons7 g17011 g
Soymilk, 1 cup sweetened7 g1000.5 g
Soymilk, 1 cup unsweetened7 g800.5 g

5. Dairy

Dairy products include cheddar, cottage cheese, etc. Other dairy products include eggs, ice cream and milk which can also provide an adequate amount of protein, while also providing the added benefit of high calcium content.

DairyProteinCaloriesFat
Fat-free cottage cheese, 1 cup31 g1601 g
2% cottage cheese, 1 cup30 g2034 g
1% cottage cheese, 1 cup28 g1632 g
Fat-free plain yogurt, 1 cup14 g1370 g
Low-fat plain yogurt, 1 cup13 g1554 g
Parmesan cheese, 1 oz grated12 g1299 g
Whole milk yogurt, 1 cup9 g1508 g
Goat’s milk, 1 cup9 g16810 g
1% milk, 1 cup8 g1022 g
Swiss cheese, 1 oz8 g1068 g
2% milk, 1 cup8 g1217 g
3.25% (whole) milk, 1 cup8 g1468 g
Low-fat cheddar/Colby cheese, 1 oz7 g492 g
Part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 oz7 g725 g
Provolone cheese, 1 oz7 g1008 g
Cheddar cheese, 1 oz7 g1149 g
Blue cheese, 1 oz6 g1008 g
American cheese, 1 oz6 g1069 g
Goat cheese, 1 oz5 g766 g
Feta cheese, 1 oz4 g756 g
Part-skim ricotta cheese, 1 oz3 g392 g

6. Grains

Grains are very high in protein and are great for muscle-building and source of whole-grain carbohydrates.

GrainsProteinCaloriesFiber
Amaranth, 1 cup cooked9 g2389 g
Quinoa, 1 cup cooked9 g2544 g
Whole wheat pasta, 1 cup cooked8 g1746 g
Barley, 1 cup cooked7 g27014 g
Spelt, 4 oz cooked6 g1444 g
Oats, 1 cup cooked6 g1474 g
Bulgur, 1 cup cooked6 g1518 g
Buckwheat, 1 cup cooked6 g1555 g
Brown rice, 1 cup cooked5 g2164 g
Whole wheat bread, 1 slice4 g1283 g
Sprouted grain bread, 1 slice4 g803 g

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