Vegetarian Protein Sources

October 20, 2015

As a vegetarian, I get asked all the time – “Where do you get your protein?”

A common misconception about vegetarianism is that it is incredibly hard to get enough protein. Now this is not necessarily untrue – you probably wouldn’t get enough protein by eating veggies and pasta 24/7. However through being mindful of what you put into your body, and taking the extra mental step to ensure you have a protein source or two in your meal, you can most certainly get all the protein you need and more by eating a plant-based diet.

I’ve noticed many of my meat-eating friends (on insta and real life) have been incorporating more plant-based meals into their diet, so I figured it would be fun to share some of my favorite sources of plant based protein!

Tempeh/Tofu

Tempeh and tofu are both fermented soy products that are incredibly versatile. They take the taste of whatever it is you are cooking them in, so they can be incorporated seamlessly into any meal. My favorite way to eat them is baked/roasted in coconut oil, garlic, and spices or pan seared in Trader Joe’s soyaki sauce.

There’s lots of question around soy, so I always make sure to buy organic! Organic tempeh is only $1.99 at Trader Joe’s – so it’s a great place to pick some up.

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veggie & sweet potato bowl with pan seared soyaki tempeh

Eggs 

Need I say more? Fried, scrambled, hardboiled… Eggs are so incredible! They’re probably my #1 go-to source of protein. I always pack a hardboiled egg as a mid-morning snack, and love plopping a fried (or “dippy”) egg or two on top of roasted veggies, quinoa, and sweet potatoes for an easy dinner. I also like stirring an egg white into my morning oats to up the protein content.

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always #putaneggonit

Beans & Lentils

Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat them the more you…. 🙂

Totally kidding – I love beans! They’re so easy to pair with a salad or dinner bowl to up the protein and fiber content. My personal favorite beans are garbanzo and black beans. Try roasting some garbanzo beans in the oven in whatever spices you like, then add them to a salad or bowl of soup for crispy, flavorful “croutons.”

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gorgeous garbanzos

Edamame

Another soy protein – edamame is delicious on salads, on its own, or thrown into stir fries. I always have a bag a frozen organic shelled edamame in my freezer for a quick go-to option to spruce up a lunch or dinner.

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protein in a pinch

Quinoa

Pronounced like “keen-wah” – this is another one of my go-to proteins. Quinoa is a wonderful substitute for rice in salads, bowls, or as a side dish. I love mixing mine with oil, vinegar, and chopped veggies for a refreshing lunch, using it as a base for a “bowl”, or stirring in coconut oil, salt & pepper and serving it as a side.

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little pearls of protein

Seeds

Seeds are such an easy way to sneak in some extra protein! My favorites are chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds – each of which having a unique nutritional profile. Toss them into your oatmeal, smoothies, or on a salad for some extra protein and omega 3’s.

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the trio

Nuts & nut butter

Nuts and nut butters are an awesome way to add protein and healthy fats to your meals and snacks without adding tons of volume. My favorite nuts for snacking are almonds, cashews, and pecans, and my favorite nut butters are almond, cashew, sunflower and peanut (so basically all of them…). Sitr some nut butter into your morning bowl of oatmeal or add a handful of nuts to your afternoon salad or snack for some extra staying power.

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oatmeal with trader joe’s creamy almond butter

Avocado/Hummus

Avocado and hummus pack a combo of plant-based protein and healthy fat that can be added to basically anything! Not to mention they’re delicious 🙂 Try some avocado smashed on toast (with an egg for extra protein!) for breakfast, or some hummus with veggies or crackers for a healthy, satisfying snack.

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let’s ago-cuddle

Protein Powder

If you’re still struggling to get enough protein, or need an extra boost from working out, a good plant based protein powder is a great way to up your protein intake. Add a scoop to your smoothies or overnight oats for an easy solution. My favorite protein powder is Vega One Protein & Greens in the vanilla flavor. At 110 calories per scoop, it packs 20 grams of protein and 2 servings of greens… And tastes amazing!

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protein power

Whether you’re interested in transitioning to a plant-based diet, or simply trying to incorporate some #MeatlessMonday meals into your week, I hope these tips help you in some way!

What are your favorite sources of vegetarian protein?

XO, Bailee

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