Natural Non-Meat Protein Sources
Most nutrition advice recommends getting enough protein, especially for athletes, but not all protein needs to come from meat. Protein is essential for your body to function. The good news is that it’s present in a wide variety of foods- most people eating a healthy diet naturally get plenty of protein. In general, adults need about 45-55 grams of protein a day (click here for more specific recommendations). Here are some great natural protein sources:
Nuts: Nuts are a great source of protein and good fats, and they are easy to snack on when you’re running in between classes or meetings. Try adding nuts to salads, or including nut butters in your snacks to keep your energy up throughout the day.
Beans: Beans are a protein staple for many vegetarians. Did you know that green peas, chickpeas, and even some vegetables are also high in protein?
Whole grains: Quinoa is known for its high protein content, but most whole grains have both protein and fiber, which keeps you feeling full.
Dairy: Low-fat dairy is a great source of protein. Try adding yogurt to your breakfast to stay full throughout the morning. If you avoid dairy, nut milks and soy products provide many of the same benefits.
Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just prefer not to eat a lot of meat, dairy and plant-based options can you get plenty protein in your diet. If you’re keeping track of how much protein you eat, don’t forget to count non-meat foods that you eat throughout the day.
Lynnie Moore is a Master’s Candidate at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine who blogs about fitness, wellness, and events at Reily.