Thursday, April 10, 2014

Non-meat Protein Sources

While visiting my closest girlfriend in Utah, I altered my intake of protein to include sources that were primarily non-meat based versus almost every meal including some sort of meat. It is a lot easier than you might think and is actually be quite tasty. I am sure you have heard the term “meatless Mondays” well I am making this a “meatless Thursday” because… well why not?  I like going against the norm. J

There are several non-meat sources of protein and I have created a list of seven that I tend to eat the most of. 

Lentils- These bad boys contain 18 g protein per 1 cup and are high in iron, potassium and folate. They are great when used in stews, soups, salads, and dips. They come in dried and canned form and are easily prepared by boiling them in water using a 3:1 ratio… 3 cups water for every cup lentil.

Tempah- Tempah is made from fermented soybeans, packing around 22 g protein per cup. Tempah is a lot like tofu but a little chewier and has a nutty flavor perfect for baking, steaming and adding to a stir-fry. Tempah, like tofu, needs to be stored in the fridge but can last if you put in the freezer for up to 6 months. It is easy to prepare and takes about 20 minutes to cook, depending on the brand you are using.

Chickpeas- One cup of these delicious nuggets contains 12 g protein. They are fabulous when ground into hummus, thrown into salads, or used as a topping for any side dish. They are easy to prepare and I always rinse them before adding to any dish.

Beans- Beans, beans the magical fruit… You know the rest ;) Providing about 15 g of protein per cup, these legumes are full of protein, fiber, and magnesium and are low in cholesterol! I use beans in soups, salads, dips or in a sweet potato veggie burger. They come in dried (think bulk food section!) or canned version and are prepared by soaking overnight (dry form) before adding to your recipe.

Broccoli- This green tree provides 4 g protein per cup and is delicious in its raw form. If you aren’t a fan of raw broccoli, it is great when steamed, sautéed with garlic, or chopped and added to any dip. It is always best to rinse your produce before consuming and can be stored in the produce drawer of your fridge.

Spinach- I LOVE spinach. I love it so much that I eat it with pretty much every meal. Not only is it packed with vitamins and minerals, one cup has about 7 grams of protein! It is great added in salad, stir fry, eggs, and smoothies. An added bonus… You can get a big tub of organic spinach at Costco for about $4.00!

Hemp Seeds- I just tried these for the first time while in Utah and I love them! They have the texture of sesame seeds but are nuttier and delicious! Three tablespoons has around 10 grams of protein and they can be purchased at the grocery store or natural health food store. They are great additives to your morning oatmeal, smoothies, salads, dips, or any dish really.

There are several more alternatives (another post WILL be coming) that provide excellent sources of protein and they are from non-meat sources; which if you choose to eat a diet that is primarily sans meat, have no fear, you can easily get enough protein to build muscle!

By now, you are starting to learn what I love and when I say love, I mean L-O-V-E! I am declaring my love for chocolate right here and now. When I was working on my Bachelors in nutrition in college, we were required to take a cooking class that used healthy modifications to popular recipes. One I will never forget is the Black Bean Brownie… Yep that is right, you use black beans and make brownies. They are quite good and are a healthy alternative to one of my favorite desserts! 

Take care of you!


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