While adding proteins to your diet is a sure way to build muscle, we need proteins to survive, without which our cell function will be affected, causing sluggishness and mental fogginess. Meat and dairy products are rich protein sources, but given the side effects of consuming unregulated amounts, there is increasing interest consume protein without meat or dairy.
Here is all you need to know about plant-based proteins and seven ways to get more protein without eating meat or dairy.
The Protein Myths
Several myths surround protein consumption, most emphasizing that meat and dairy are the only significant sources of proteins. While you will get protein from eating beef, chicken breast, yogurt, cheese, and milk, they are not the only sources. Protein consumption requires an understanding of the differences between complete and incomplete proteins.
Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids and include meat and dairy products, while incomplete proteins have some of the essential amino acids. Incomplete protein sources are primarily plants, including legumes, grains, and vegetables. Plant sources were termed inferior sources of proteins for a long time, but varying your plant protein sources will supply your body with all the essential amino acids it requires.
7 Protein-Rich Alternatives to Meat and Dairy
If you want to get protein without meat and dairy, consider the following foods.
Nuts, including peanuts, almonds, and walnuts, are good plant-based protein. Peanuts contain about 25g of protein per 100 g, while almonds contain 16.5 grams per ½ cup. Walnuts contain 15g of protein per 100 grams.
Given the high heart-healthy fat content in nuts, it is advisable to stick to a recommended dose of 30g per day of nuts. You can add nuts to your salad and eat them as a snack or smoothie and butter.
Seeds like chia and hemp are also rich sources of protein besides meat. An ounce of chia seeds will contain up to 5 grams of protein. You can incorporate chia seeds in smoothies, bread, puddings, dressings, and fruit-based drinks.
Despite their small size, hemp seeds are rich in nutrients, including healthy fats, and will provide all essential amino acids, hence the best alternative to getting protein without meat. Hemp seeds are an ingredient in milk, cheese, and plant-based protein powders, and you can add them to baked goods, salads, cereals, or smoothies.
Greens are high-protein vegan foods that you can take in place of meat. A scoop of Nutrient-rich green powder mixes, including spirulina, spinach, and chlorella, will give up to 20 grams of protein, hence an ideal way to maintain a vegan diet through shakes and smoothies.
3. Beans And Legumes
Legumes are an ideal option for getting protein without meat. White and black beans contain up to 15 grams of protein per cup and are a favorite for bodybuilders and athletes requiring more protein. Beans are also useful in reducing inflammation, and you can add them to salad, soup, stew, or meatless burgers.
A half cup of chickpeas contains up to 7 grams of protein, hence a suitable option to intake protein without meat. These legumes are also rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals. You can incorporate chickpeas into your soups, curries, and salad.
Lentils provide other protein sources besides meat to consider for their high amino acid content and other key minerals necessary for building lean muscles. These legumes are rich in potassium, which is useful in regulating high blood pressure. A quarter cup of lentils will contain up to 11 grams of lentils. You can incorporate lentils in soup or stew or other recipes you would use with meat.
Vegetables like green peas, asparagus, and broccoli are excellent protein sources. Asparagus and broccoli contain 4 grams of proteins per cup, vitamin B, and fiber. Combining these foods with other protein-rich foods is advisable to meet your body’s daily requirements.
Even if you don’t like to eat vegetables, There are numerous ways to consume them to get all the necessary nutrients and especially protein without eating meat or dairy.
Brown rice, oats, and quinoa have more protein content due to the presence of all three kernel layers than their white versions. Quinoa is a complete protein and contains 8 grams of protein per cup when cooked. Oats are an overlooked protein source, and while they are incomplete proteins, their protein content of 7 grams per 1/3 cup serving far outweighs most grains. You can take brown rice, quinoa, or oats with your salads and stew.
Soy products are rich sources of proteins besides meat. The protein content in soy products will vary with the preparation. Tofu contains 10 grams of proteins per ½ cup, while edamame beans, comprising immature beans, have 8.5 grams per ½ cup. Tempeh contains 15 grams per ½ cup. You can take soy in place of meat in your soups or sandwich or as a substitute for chicken stew. In addition to proteins, the above soy products are rich in calcium and iron hence a healthy substitute for dairy products.
Getting protein without eating meat or dairy requires some planning. With the right plant-based protein, you can access a good protein balance for a healthy body and reduced risk of diseases. While switching to the above food options, contact your nutritionist or doctor to learn how to best incorporate the foods in your diet and avoid missing out on essential nutrients.
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