The best meat-free protein sources

By: Health Local Staff May 28, 2014
The best meat-free protein sources

Here are a few protein sources that are 100 percent vegetarian friendly.

Eating a high protein diet does not necessarily mean an increase in meat consumption. Lean protein is found in a variety of foods that work wonders for your overall health. According to the American Heart Association, a typical American diet consists of beef, chicken, and pork. Many of these meats are fatty and high in calories. By becoming less carnivorous, you can expect to feel better and look more radiant.

Here are a few excellent protein sources that do not include meat and are 100 percent vegetarian friendly.

Quinoa has been making headlines for several years now. In fact, the United Nations dubbed 2013 the Year of Quinoa, as it is seen internationally as one of the best protein sources available. Packed with protein, potassium, and a variety of minerals, quinoa is known as the complete protein because it contains all nine amino acids that are essential for good health. In just one cup of quinoa there are eight grams of protein.

Edamame is popular in sushi restaurants as a tasty appetizer or side dish, but it is more than a pre-dinner meal. Edamame is packed with protein and more fiber per cup than four slices of whole-grain bread. The delicious green beans yield 16 grams of protein per cup. The beans may be prepared steamed with or without the pods.

Reaping a whopping 18 grams of protein per cup, lentils are one of the favourite protein sources among vegetarians. Lentils are rich with vitamins and fiber that promote heart health and lower blood pressure.

Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is low in calories yet high in protein. The creamy, thick texture makes Greek yogurt a favourite among vegetarians and meat-eaters. One cup of Greek yogurt offers nearly 30 grams of protein. But, be careful with the sweet stuff and check the labels before buying. Some brands are packed with sugar and should be avoided.

Also known as the garbanzo bean, chickpeas are protein powerhouses that fight bad cholesterol and cuts LDLs. In one cup of chickpeas there are 14 grams of protein. Gluten-free enthusiasts and celiacs take advantage of chickpea flour because it is allergen-free.

If you are not allergic to eggs, they may become your new best friend. Chocked full of protein and low in calories, eggs yield seven grams of protein per one large egg. Eggs also contain a brain-boosting ingredient known as choline. Look for organic, cage-free varieties.

The texture of tempeh is what puts it in the lead above tofu and other soybean-based products. Tempeh is firmer in texture and great for making meatless burgers, sandwiches, and stir-fries. One cup of tempeh is a whopping 31 grams of protein. Tempeh may be prepared in a vegetable dish or can be eaten quickly with a dash of soy sauce to elevate the flavors.

Omitting fatty meats from your diet can improve overall health. Remember, going vegetarian does not mean you must go without protein.

The Health Local Staff is a team of writers and experts dedicated to bringing you the latest health, nutrition and lifestyle information at