Increase Your Protein Intake without Meat - dummies

By Michele Chevalley Hedge, Dan DeFigio

Part of Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies Cheat Sheet (Australian/New Zealand Edition)

Protein is excellent for immune function, lean muscle mass, and even collagen in the skin. Some of us don’t eat meat or may decide to ease up our digestion with lighter proteins. Here are some plant-based proteins for you to consider as part of your daily diet.

  • Beans (black , kidney, mung or pinto). The old saying is still true, ‘beans, beans good for your heart…’ They are tasty, can bulk up your soups and salads, and provide a feeling of fullness and satiation. Try a black bean chilli or a pinto bean burrito with 15 grams of protein per cup.

  • Muesli. A common yet hearty cereal made from mixed rolled oats, coconut shreds, seeds and nuts, and sometimes dried fruit, muesli can provide approximately 8 grams of protein in one serve. Muesli doesn’t just have to be for breakfast, it can make a great post-training snack too.

  • Quinoa. A grain-like seed, this little superfood contains nutrient-dense magnesium, complex carbs and lean muscle-building protein too. Quinoa can contain approximately 11 grams of protein per cup. This is the equivalent to the amount of protein in one egg.

  • Tempeh. A healthy protein-packed alternative to its non-fermented cousin, tofu, this fermented soybean-based food makes great veggie burgers and doubles as a tasty meat alternative to meatballs in pasta or over brown rice and vegetables. Tempeh protein is packed at 24 grams per 4 ounces.

  • Lentils. These are delicious, nutritious and easy to prepare. There are some excellent BPA-free canned lentils that can be tossed in a salad or peppered in a soup. They pack about 18 grams of protein per cup and are a wonderful source of iron and fibre.

  • Peanuts. This potent protein is an ideal snack and is easy to carry in your briefcase, handbag or car. A 12 ounce serving (or about 25 nuts) contains approximately 7.3 grams of protein. You must watch your serving size on these savoury little crunchers though, as they are also high in fat.

  • Tofu. This is made from soybeans and is a protein powerhouse that’s great in a good stir-fry. It’s often used as a meat or dairy substitute because it takes on the flavour of whatever dish it’s used in. Try tofu in a lasagna or a dessert-like cheesecake. Each 5-ounce serving is approximately 10.3 grams of protein. Add a bit of soy milk and serve warm or cold to add an additional protein punch.