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Effective protein substitutes for vegetarians

by John Burns (follow)
Nutrition (269)     
Whatever your reasons for going vegetarian, your new lifestyle comes with a fresh set of challenges. Maybe you will ask yourself how you will replace your favourite, non-vegetarian food with a veggie-friendly version, or how you will cope with pangs of jealousy when invited out to dinner by carnivorous friends.



strength, healthy, protein sources
Image from Pixabay


However you deal with these challenges, there is one question which simply must be answered: where am I going to get my protein from?

Protein is the fuel that keeps our bodies going. Finding good sources of protein is the key to balancing an active and energised lifestyle with a vegetarian diet; it is the key to staying strong while also giving up meat. Here are five ways to keep your body adequately fueled without reaching for the steak.

Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein – marketed under the name Quorn – is an excellent source of protein for non-meat eaters. It is a meat substitute made from artificially grown fungus protein and can provide 13 grams of protein per half cup serving.



strength, healthy, protein sources
A tasty stroganoff made with mycoprotein. Image from Flickr


You’ve probably seen Quorn around. It comes in a wide variety of different flavours and types, and generally does a pretty good job of replicating the taste and texture of meat products. A word of warning though: many – but not all – Quorn products use egg white to bind the protein together, and so are not vegan-friendly.

Green Peas

Who would have thought that the humble garden pea could be such a good source of protein? A cup of green peas contains 7.9 grams of protein, which can provide a handy boost towards your recommended daily amount.



strength, healthy, protein sources
Image from Pixabay


A high level of protein is a trait green peas share with other members of the legume family, so supplement your diet with beans and nuts and you will be well on your way.

Peanut Butter

It might seem too easy, but a daily helping of peanut butter is an excellent way to boost your protein intake. Add in a couple of slices of bread – otherwise known as a peanut butter sandwich – and you have 15 grams of protein to add to your diet in one sitting.



strength, healthy, protein sources
Image from Pixabay


Be aware, however, that peanut butter is rather high in calories, so this option is suitable only for those with active lifestyles.

Quinoa

Quinoa – grown mainly in the Peruvian Andes but also found in the south and east of Spain – is almost unique amongst the grain family in being a good source of protein. Originally grown and used by mountain peoples in Peru, the fame of this versatile little grain quickly spread. 2013 was even named International Year of Quinoa in recognition of the plant and of the Andean tribes that cultivated it.



strength, healthy, protein sources
Image from Wikipedia


Use it in a salad to add a bit of extra protein, or mix it into a chili as a healthy substitute for minced meat.

Tofu

Our last protein source comes from further east; China to be exact. Made from soy milk, tofu provides 8 grams of protein per serving and is an incredibly versatile substitute for white meat.

Further south, those resourceful Indonesians have gone one step further with tofu, developing their own fermented version – tempeh – which has more than double the protein of regular tofu!



strength, healthy, protein sources
Image from Wikipedia


Remember, the recommended daily intake of protein is 46 grams for an adult woman and 56 grams for an adult male, so you are advised to mix and match your protein sources to hit this daily target. Do it right and you will be rewarded with a healthy, strong and productive meat-free lifestyle!

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