As a vegetarian, I get a lot of odd questions but the most common question I get (and probably the least odd) is “Where do you get your protein?”
One of the main things I love about being a vegetarian is that it makes me think about the food I’m eating. Before becoming a vegetarian I would go out to restaurants and order the same thing. I would mindlessly eat whatever and didn’t put thought into what I was consuming. However, you can’t really do that as a vegetarian or your body will become weak and you’ll be unhealthy.
So here’s a list of my main sources of protein:
- Beans — You know what they say about beans? High in protein. 😉 Honestly, beans may be my favorite source of protein because they work so well in a variety of things. For example, anything you enjoy that’s meat based can most likely be made vegetarian with beans. Like chili? Have an amazing 5 bean chili. Like Sloppy Joes? Make incredible lentil Sloppy Joes. Love burgers? Black bean burgers top “normal” burgers! They have more flavor. Try one next time you’re at Buffalo Wild Wings. Trust me – it’s freaking good. Like Chicken Noodle Soup? Give lentil soup a try instead! Just as delicious and nutritious (if not more ;)) Going out to grab Taco Johns and all you like are the beef tacos? Try the bean burrito. Quick protein boost but not recommended for daily consumption.
- Grains — Almost as good as beans. You know what, they probably tie. Grains are also super versatile. Quinoa is great because it’s very high in protein and takes on the flavor of what you make with it. Wild rice is another good one. It’s great for soups and burgers as well. However, I always keep brown rice on hand. It goes great with all meals and the leftovers can be used for a lot of different dishes. Bethenny Frankel has a breakfast dish that is made using leftover brown rice and it’s surprisingly delicious. Steel cut oats pack the most bang for your buck. If you’re going to have oatmeal or oats, try to always go steel cut. One less processing step and more nutrients. BREAD. A super quick tip for picking out your bread – lift it up and see how heavy it is. The denser the bread, the better it is for you. The more nutrients it has and more than likely it has more protein.
- Nuts — I have a confession… I don’t eat “healthy” nuts… God, that feels good to get that off my chest. Almonds, walnuts, pecans all make me want to yack. So, sorry I don’t have much input on those nuts. However, I do love peanuts and more specifically peanut butter. It’s a healthy fat in moderation and has protein. 😉 If you’re a female, edamame is a great protein choice! (Men, don’t eat a lot of them… you’ll grow boobs. Jk, but there’s a debate that too much soy for guys is bad.) You can buy edamame pods frozen, steam them and then put a little sea salt on top and they’re delish. Otherwise, you can buy them dried as well. I love having a bag of dried edamame in the house. They make a great quick snack for when you’re running out the door or get home starving. A handful can hold you over before going out to eat and can help ensure you don’t get hangry. Lastly, pistachios… I mean come on, does anyone not like pistachios? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
- Eggs — Eggs are an easy source of protein. Add cheese and they’re even better. High in protein and pretty much go with anything. Omelets are great because you can add veggies to them and scrabbled are amazing on a piece of good hearty bread. Add avocado to the mix and you have yourself a delicious basic bitch breakfast.
- Protein Powder — Sometimes I don’t have time to make an incredible egg breakfast or don’t feel like making dinner, so instead I whip up a soy protein smoothie. I love all of the books that have awesome smoothie recipes and I’m sure they all taste phenomenal but honestly, just take some green leafy something, frozen fruit, soy protein – blend and go. If it tastes like ass, better luck next time… but make sure you finish it all because those ingredients are expensive. 😉
See, there are TONS of protein options for vegetarians! I hope you try something new from this list! Let me know what you think. Also, please feel free to share any of your awesome high protein vegetarian recipes! I’m always looking to try something new.