Protein consumption is important for many reasons, including building muscle and regulating our blood sugar levels. Regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian or not, there are many delicious meat-free sources of protein that also include additional health benefits. Here are the top 10 vegetarian sources of protein:
- Spirulina is high in complete protein and an excellent source of minerals that are easily absorbed by your body.
- Hemp is one of the few plant proteins that supply you with all the essential amino acids (essential meaning your body cannot produce them on its own). Hemp seeds also contain fatty acids to boost your immune system.
- Chia seeds may not be particularly high in protein, however they are still nutrient-dense. Chia seeds are an incredible source of fiber and also contain calcium. Unlike flax, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order for your body to absorb the nutrients.
- Quinoa is unique in that it’s the only plant based source of complete protein (meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids crucial to human function and health). And an extra added bonus is it’s also gluten-free!
- Tempeh is a soy-based, fermented food that has a chewy consistency similar to meat. It’s better than many of the processed tofu or “mock meats” that are loaded with poor-quality modified proteins, chemicals, and starchy fillers. Always eat organic sources of soy products to avoid GMO’s (genetic modified organisms).
- Almonds (and almond butter) are a great source of protein to add to salads or just eat a handful for a snack. Almond butter can be used instead of peanut butter as it is less allergenic and has the same amount of protein.
- Vegetables, particularly the green ones, pack a potent punch of protein.
- Lentils and beans are one of the few foods that are both rich in protein and fiber, making them highly satisfying and potentially good for the beneficial flora in our gut.
- Organic, plain Greek yogurt (not vegan) is a good source of protein. It has twice the protein and half as much sugar and carbs of regular yogurt and has the same amount of protein as 3 ozs. of lean meat.
- Eggs (not vegan) contain the highest biological value of protein, which is a measure of how well it supports your body’s protein needs compared to any food, including beef. The yolk itself contains vitamin B12, which is typically lacking in vegetarian diets.
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