The good news is that vegetarian protein sources are all around you.
In fact, they are so readily available that most vegetarians have no problem at all getting more than enough in their diets.
Though many people still believe that meat is where we get all our protein from. Though this is mostly true for a lot of people, meat is not the only source of protein. There are plenty of plant based foods that are fantastic sources of protein and they pack a better nutritional punch than most animal products.
Every food on this list contains at least six grams of protein of per serving up to more than eighteen grams! Pick and choose which of these you'd like to add to your favorite vegetarian recipes or incorporate into your day and pretty soon, you'll see just how easy it is to get all the protein you need.
Photo by Jan Willem Geertsma
Need a few ideas on how to incorporate vegetarian protein sources into your diet? Start off with some super simple vegetarian meal ideas or learn a little more about what vegetarians eat on a day to day basis.
If you still plan on consuming milk and dairy products, eat more cheese, yogurt, milk and eggs. If you drink coffee, you can replace your regular milk with soy milk (almond milk doesn't offer as much protein per serving).
Try to incorporate whole grains into your diet as much as possible. Stock your pantry with whole grain breads, cereals and rice, beans and lentils. These have all become staples in our home since we transitioned to a plant based diet.
Quinoa is a fantastic source of vegetarian protein and it's packed with amino acids. Use it as your texture ingredient in veggie burgers, try it in place of rice in a simple vegetable stir fry recipe, put it in salads, soups and vegetarian chili... the possibilities are endless.
Find your own, un-obtrusive way to add it to your family meals and get creative with it. Pretty soon you won't even have to think, it will be automatic.
Not only do proteins play a major role in the way your body performs, but it's a necessary nutrient for many other vital body processes.
It helps build strong healthy muscles.
It's the basis for your all your organs, your hormones and the antibodies your body produces that help fight off infections.
It's the back up energy your body turns to when you run out of carbs to burn.
It can help control cholesterol levels in your blood.
It can help your bones grow stronger and prevent osteoporosis.
Including more vegetarian sources in your diet than animal sources can be incredibly beneficial to your overall health and well being. Even if you don't want to do it all day, every day, incorporating a couple of meat free days each week can make a big difference in the way you feel.
My friend Mimi at Simply-Vegetarian.com offers some great information on complete vegetarian protein sources and vegetarian nutrition. You'll find tons of tasty vegetarian recipes that will satisfy both your nutritional needs and your taste buds.
Despite what many people think, consuming excess protein will not help you build super strong muscles. Instead, your body turns excesses into fat and stores it which puts a strain on your kidneys from trying to get rid of it. With that in mind, here is a chart straight from the CDC with your daily protein recommendations.