It is a fact that human beings need protein to survive. Protein repairs and builds tissues, and it is a building block that makes up cartilage, skin, blood, muscle, and bone.
Many people use meat ingestion to create protein. It’s effective, but there are some significant health effects of eating too much meat, especially red meat like beef.
There are several ways to get protein in your diet apart from meat, though. Let’s explore a few of those.
You might not think about plants as being an immediate protein source. However, plant-based protein exists, and it is healthier than a meat alternative in many cases.
When we discuss plant-based protein sources, we are talking about things like:
- Nutritional yeast
- Green peas
- Chickpeas and other bean varieties
Any of these are plants that pack a healthy dose of protein.
What’s so nice about many of them is how versatile they are. Think about all of the different ways to prepare something like tofu. You can make crispy, baked tofu with seasonings in just a few minutes, or there are always options like tofu dogs or burgers that you can cook on the grill.
Milk is another often-overlooked protein source. Some people feel like they should drink all the milk they can while they’re growing. After adolescence, they abandon it.
If you have cereal every morning, then you’re doing your body a world of good, especially if the cereal is high in fiber and vitamin-enriched. The milk added to it can be a protein source. It’s even better if you buy skim milk that is free of saturated fat.
You can also ingest milk:
- Together with a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich
- As part of a milk-and-fruit smoothie
- Along with a bowl of vegetarian chili
- Together with a doughnut or pastry in the morning
Cheese is another protein source that some people overlook. It is another one that is popular in so many cultures, though, and has so many potential uses.
You can set out a cheese plate when you have company over, and you’ll be getting your protein as you socialize. A grilled-cheese sandwich is classic comfort food, or you could stuff it into peppers to get fiber and protein together. There are always options like pizza, fondue, or an egg-and-cheese sandwich.
Speaking of eggs, they’re another superior protein source. People often think of eggs as part of breakfast, but you can enjoy them at other times of the day as well.
You might decide to make an egg-salad sandwich for lunch, or maybe you’d prefer a quiche. There are many ways to prepare them by themselves, such as scrambled, fried, over easy, or sunny side up.
You can also do things like eggs on toast, or you could get more exotic and try something like cherry tomatoes and egg curry, or a French onion frittata. Maybe you’re more into something like an egg-and-avocado salad, or kimchi fried rice with eggs as an ingredient.
Yogurt is another protein source that people have been consuming for hundreds of years. You can use unflavored yogurt as part of many different recipes, or you can eat it with fruit like peaches or blueberries in the morning or for a snack.
Yogurt has the protein your body needs, but it’s also good for gut, heart, and bone health. It can reduce your type 2 diabetes risk, and it’s satiating since it is full of rich, healthy fats. Most nutritionists say Greek yogurt is best for you.
People overlook greens as a protein source, but certain ones are highly protein-dense. Spinach is a prime example, and kale is as well. You can make a salad with either of these and add many other ingredients that appeal to you.
You could throw some spinach into a blender while you’re making a smoothie, and you’ll be getting vitamin A, iron, and calcium along with your protein. You can combine it with peanut butter, fruit, milk, or yogurt for some exciting taste combinations.
Beans are one more protein source that is beneficial in lots of other ways, too. They are an excellent fiber source, so three-bean salad, chili, or stew with beans are all smart meal choices. They also contain vitamins, folate, and antioxidants.
There are countless ways to get your protein boost without meat. If you’re looking to reduce meat in your diet, you should be able to do so without ever feeling restricted.