If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you are probably familiar with the ever-popular question: “How do you get protein if you don’t eat meat?” Newsflash, friends: Just because you prefer chickpeas instead of chicken doesn't mean your options are exhausted when it comes to protein sources. In fact, Talia Fuhrman, author of Love Your Body has the right advice when it comes to maximizing your options as a vegetarian.
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Fuhrman believes that a plant-based diet packed with all natural, nutrient-rich ingredients makes body issues, including weight gain, skin troubles, frequent sickness, and migraines, a thing of the past. And while she doesn’t advise getting all protein from whole wheat and vegetables, she does have the perfect list of 8 vegan-friendly foods packed full of protein.
"These foods will keep you feeling energetic," says Furhman. "And, I dare say, ready to tackle competitive sports or even the most intensive weight training!"
1. Green vegetables: Calorie for calorie, broccoli has more than double the protein of a sirloin steak. And get this, a mere 100 calories of asparagus contains 10 whopping grams of protein. Enough said.
2. Beans: Besides being what Fuhrman refers to as “fiber powerhouses,” beans contain 13 to 15 grams of protein per cup.
3. Non-dairy milks like soy or almond: Free of dairy, lactose, and gluten, non-dairy milks pack in as much as 9 grams of protein per cup. Added bonus: Some have 50 percent more calcium than milk. Time to fill 'er up! (Not sure what milk to choose? Check out our guide to milk alternatives.)
4. Nuts and seed butters: Eating just a few tablespoons of cashew butter, almond butter, peanut butter, or sunflower seed butter will give you 8 grams of protein! Spread some on a banana or apple slices. Better yet, lick it off the spoon. (The hardest part: Make sure to close the bottle after you take a serving size!)
5. Lentils: Get this: one cup of lentils contains a surprising 18 grams of protein. I don’t know about you, but I’m choosing lentil soup next time I see it on a menu!
6. Hemp seeds: They may be little, but hemp seeds contain lots of protein. In fact, a 200-calorie serving of these vitamin E, fiber, and amino acid rich seeds also provides 13 grams of protein.
7. Quinoa: You would probably be surprised to learn that this grain is actually a relative of the leafy green vegetable family. Plus, it’s a complete protein, which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids and 8 grams of protein per cup.
8. Sprouted grain bread: Next time you’re assembling your favorite sandwich, choose the bread that will provide you with 10 grams of protein.
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