Believe it or not, not everyone loves – or even likes – eating meat. Whether for personal reasons or a body that simply can’t process it (or even an alternative reason), there are thousands of people to opt to lead a meat-free diet each and every day. However, this can also lead to various medical concerns, such as muscles that can’t properly repair or rebuild themselves. Especially after an injury or working out. Because muscles use a large amount of protein, it’s something that allows them to work, grow, and expand on a daily basis.
Meaning, for the vegetarians, it can be hard to make up for that lack of daily – or weekly – intake. To still get the ongoing benefits of protein without having to actually consume meat, consider these tasty alternatives instead. Not only do they still provide plenty of protein (and other vitamins and minerals), they can help cut calories from your daily diet.
Eat it on a sandwich, in desserts (with an understanding that calories are not being reduced in this instance), or by the spoonful to increase your body’s protein intake. It can also be used as an afternoon pick-me-up – for protein and as a treat – or simply as a way to add protein to the body in a tasty package. Or, look to virtually any type of nut, especially almonds, to receive the same results in a crunchier package. Opt to eat your favorite each day or a mix to get a variation on texture and flavors.
Be sure and check labels to see how many calories are in each serving in relation to how much protein it’s providing. Also be on the lookout for sodium percentages, as peanuts are generally packaged with a large dose of salt.
No matter how you cook them, eggs come with a large dose of protein. Leave out the yolk to nix some additional calories without sacrificing on protein. And considering they can be prepped in tens of different ways, this is a great choice for eating something new on a regular basis. Even when it’s not time for breakfast.
Dairy lovers can rejoice with the addition of yogurt to their healthy protein list. (Choose Greek for the highest level of protein vs. smallest level of calories.) Add into a dish or eat plain for a quick fix on your protein intake. It’s also great for breakfast or a healthier take on dessert.
Additional dairy options include cottage cheese. While non-dairy milks, such as soy, can offer a lactose-free way to drink one’s necessary nutrients.
Another option with plenty of choices, beans, can be prepared in a number of different ways and offer a very high level of protein. Choose your favorite types or combine flavors for a new take on this dish.
Pronounced keen-wa, this super food has been growing in popularity. Use it as a rice substitute or in salads for a filling way to mix protein into your diet. And considering its thicker texture, many prefer to use this dish for dinner or a filling lunch. However, it can also be used in a pasta salad or veggie dish for a dainty side option. Many prefer quinoa due its versatility – without an overbearing main flavor, it can be adapted to virtually any type of meal.
For those who choose to cut down on meat – whether a little or altogether – there are plenty of healthy protein alternatives. Cook with these ingredients on a regular basis to give the body the nutrients it deserves without adding too many calories. It’s a simple, yet effective way to stay healthy without sacrificing one’s dietary choices.