Do you want your family to reduce meat from your meals?
Many people prefer to leave meat and dairy products out of their diets and lifestyles. The issue with this choice is letting go of meat may also mean losing your protein sources. Protein helps your biological reactions, like digestion, blood clotting, and muscle contraction.
Without the proper knowledge, you will end up with protein deficiency. It leads to various health issues down the line.
However, meat and dairy products are not the only sources of protein. If you want to discover other sources of protein you can add to your diet, our guide can help. Read on as we discuss the best protein alternatives around:
1. Tofu and Tempeh
Bean curd or tofu is one of the most popular whey protein alternatives out there. It comes from soybean milk and is low-fat. With its versatility and mild flavor, this food product is popular among vegetarians.
An alternative to tofu is tempeh, a product derived from fermented soybeans.
Both look similar since they come in blocks and are rich in protein. However, tempeh has more protein content and a nutty, savory flavor. Its texture is also different since it is firmer and chewier.
2. Beans and Edamame
Eating black beans, red beans, or white beans allows you to get your protein needs. They are excellent protein alternatives because a half cup can keep you full. Beans also keep your gut bacteria healthy and reduce cholesterol.
Consider snacking on edamame when you get tired of beans. These are young soya beans with shells. It also contains all the necessary proteins and amino acids.
Edamame beans have a nutty taste. You can use them on stir-fries and salad dishes to bulk them up. Mixing them with other beans is a must for a wide array of vegan dishes.
When you hear grains, you will most likely think about carbohydrates. However, grains also pack a punch when it comes to protein.
Some excellent protein-rich grains include:
- Millet; and
Quinoa grains have eight essential amino acids. They also make an ideal protein alternative because they are easy to prepare. Sometimes, you can eat them without cooking.
Whole grains also contain other nutrients, like fiber, minerals, B vitamins, and phytochemicals. It is what makes them great weight maintenance foods. If you want to go on a calorie deficit, eating grains for your meals will help a lot.
Another popular protein alternative is the peanut. Out of all the nut types, the peanut has the most protein. It has 9 grams per quarter-cup serving.
Other high-protein nuts include cashews, almonds, and pistachios. A single cup of almonds has more protein than a regular egg. Consider getting your daily dose of protein from almond butter protein.
Nuts are also rich in:
- Omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat
If you want the nuts containing the fewest carbs, look for pecans. Walnuts can also improve your brain health and reduce the risk of depression. With these nuts, you can keep up with work without succumbing to stress.
Did you know you can still get the protein in nuts, even if you are allergic? The type of seed with the most protein is hemp seed. Its protein content is similar to beef and lamb, considering its weight.
Pumpkin seeds also have tons of nutrients, but you will find them in the white shell. Even though people often use sesame seeds as garnish, they contain more protein for their weight. The popular chia seeds can replace eggs, thanks to their protein content.
You can find a large variety of edible and protein-rich seeds. Some examples include flax, sunflower, and watermelon seeds.
A little over 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. Cutting down on meat helps lower the risk of diabetes and reduces cholesterol levels. Since you cannot leave the protein out of your diet, consider eating more vegetables.
Veggies like spinach, asparagus, and broccoli contain protein. A cup of alfalfa sprouts contains 1.3 grams of protein, while a cup of shredded bok choy can give you 1.1 grams. Chopped mustard greens have a distinct mustard flavor, and a cup contains 1.6 grams of protein.
The best part about eating these vegetables is they are not only rich in protein. They also contain other nutrients, including:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin A
- Phosphorous; and more
Leafy greens like asparagus provide anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. You might not get as much protein from these plants compared to other sources. However, you gain other benefits like the vitamins mentioned above.
7. Vegan Cheese and Nutritional Yeast
Dairy products make excellent alternative protein sources. However, if you are a vegan, dairy is out of the question. An alternative to dairy is dairy-free vegan cheese.
If you’re shopping for vegan cheeses, look for products coming from protein-rich cashews. You can also look for ones made from soy or other protein alternatives. However, these plant-based cheeses may have higher fat content.
You can also skip the vegan cheese and use nutritional yeast instead. Many brands and types of nutritional yeast exist in the market. They are for baking bread, brewing beer, and making cheese.
To consume nutritional yeast, you need only sprinkle it on top of your meal. A tablespoon of nutritional yeast can add two grams of protein. Other than that, nutritional yeast is also rich in B vitamins.
Maintain Your Health With These Protein Alternatives Now
You can find many other types of foods acting as protein alternatives. The ones we listed are the most accessible ones for most consumers. They are vital choices for vegetarians, vegans, and the health-conscious.
However, learning about these protein alternatives is only the beginning. Expand your knowledge of healthier food choices to cover all your bases. Otherwise, you could end up with a nutritional deficit in the long run.
Did you find this guide helpful? If so, consider reading our other posts and learn more valuable tips and tricks today.