Vegetarian Protein Sources

Vegetarians: Where do you get your protein from when you cut meat and other animal products from your diet?

Vegetarian literally means herbivore, one who refrains from eating animals and animal products. However, there are different types of vegetarians, such as Lacto-ovovegetariansvegetarians, who eat animal-derived foods but do not eat meat. They will eat eggs, butter, cheese, milk, etc., that are made from animals. Then there are some who will eat fish and/or poultry, but not other meat. Vegetarians utilize this diet for different reasons, or a combination of reasons. Some enjoy the health benefits, because of the reduced consumption of fat and cholesterol. It is also usually less expensive than buying meat products. Some go by the morals of not eating meats, because of cruelty to animals. Usually, a diet containing fish and poultry but excluding other meats is not for moral reasons. This diet is probably for health reasons.

Whatever the reason, or the type of vegetarian a person is, there is always a question of protein sources. The most common question for those who aren't vegetarians, or those just getting started is, "Where do you get your protein from?". Many people are concerned with the consumption of protein. It seems confusing to be able to cut out animal foods, and still thrive on enough protein sources for the body. There is no need for concern, because protein doesn't just come from animals. Most of our meals are centered around a huge chunk of protein, usually a steak or chicken breast. Most of the time these meals contain nearly enough protein for a day's diet, let alone for one meal. The simple answer is, just because animal products have been cut out of your diet, it doesn't mean that you are going to cut protein out of your diet. Protein is necessary on a daily basis to maintain a healthy body. There are plenty of other sources of protein, most of which are healthier than meats. However, you still must watch your portions! It may seem a little overwhelming at first to locate good protein sources for your diet, but it isn't as difficult as it may seem. There are many proteins in non-animal foods. The most popular is from the legume family. This includes beans, seeds and nuts.

Some unexpected sources of protein:


Long Grain Brown Rice

Soy Flour

Oats

Raw Firm Tofu

Tempeh

Seitan

Soybeans

Veggie Dog

Veggie Burger

Vegetarian Baked Beans

Quinoa

Soy Milk

Bagel

Peas

Peanut Butter

Spaghetti

Spinach

Soy Yogurt

Bulgur

Broccoli

Whole Wheat Bread

Almond Butter

Potatoes

Hulled Millet

Barley

Cornmeal

Rye

Whole Wheat Couscous

Artichokes

Swiss Chard

Chives

Collards

Fennel

Kale

Rutabaga

Squash

Sweet Potatoes

Avocado

Banana

Blackberry

Casaba Melon

Cherimoya

Currant

Jackfruit

Mulberry

Pomelo

Sapote

Watercress

Brussels Sprouts

Turnip Greens

Cauliflower

Mustard Greens

Mushrooms

Lemons

Strawberries

Oranges

Grapes

All of these foods contain a relatively to a good source of protein. The soy bean may be the best source of protein for vegetarians, because it has all eight of the essential amino acids, and contains more protein than other plants. There is a wide variety of soy products on store shelves today, including tofu, butter, milk and meat substitutes.

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