Are you concerned about your protein intake on a diet the limits or cuts out meat? A vegetarian or vegan diet still allows a plethora of protein-rich options to replace your meat. Here’s a list of 5 foods to substitute for meat.
While tofu and tempeh are popular soy-based meal replacements, seitan is a forgotten food. While not gluten-free friendly, seitan has an incredibly high protein count: 25 grams per 3.5 oz. That’s about the same as the same serving of meat. Seitan is made up of gluten, or wheat proteins, extracted from wheat dough. When cooked with the right spices, seiten can resemble a delicious meat dish.
As a long-time vegetarian staple, legumes are a protein and mineral-rich complement to any meal. Highly versatile, legumes are a filling, fibrous addition to your diet. Chickpeas, for example, offer up to 15 grams of proteins per cup, cooked. Lentils have a whopping 18 grams of protein. Others include Great Northern White beans, Kidney beans, and green beans.
In the snack department, nuts are perfect for a midday pickup that fills you up with their protein content. Nuts highest in protein includes almonds, walnuts, and pistachios. On average, you can expect 5-6 grams of protein per ounce of nuts. Many commercial protein bars include nuts, for good reason. However, eating them in their most natural form, without extra sugar or salt, is preferred.
This seed disguised as grain is perfect for gluten-free folks. Again, quinoa is a great mixture of protein (8 grams per cooked cup) and fiber (5 grams fiber). Quinoa can not only supplement protein intake but also replace higher carb grains that set the foundation for a complete meal. Furthermore, quinoa actually contains all 9 essential amino acids, which is rare in most meat replacements.
Even vegetables offer more protein than most people expect. Broccoli is one such vegetable that provides the most protein. Up to 29% of broccoli’s dry weight is entirely protein – which is a lot. However, when you consider that most of the broccoli’s mass is made up of water, the actual protein content can seem measly – about 2-3 grams per cup of chopped broccoli.
With all of these options, we’re not even scratching the surface of the available options. Regardless, a plethora of protein replacements awaits for anyone considering a vegetarian or vegan diet.