- White beans taste awesome in pasta
- Garbanzo or edamame in stir-fries
- Black beans and pinto in burritios, tacos and quesadillas
- Lentils or kidney are great in salads and whole grain pita lunches.
Vegetarians run a high risk of low iron due to the fact that they do not consume animal meat which is a primary source of protein. So for those of you doing a vegetarian diet or lifestyle, here are some great sources of protein:1. Beans and Lentils - They are the cheapest source of protein. So whether you prefer kidney, garbanzo, white, black, or pinto beans, buy lots of cans of beans, rinse and drain them to remove 40% of the sodium, and use them in everything.2. Nuts and Seeds - Nuts contain 3 to 7 grams of protein per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type (peanuts and pine nuts have the most). Seeds have 2-5 grams per 1/3 cup serving depending on the type. As far as nuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts are all good vegetarian protein sources. Sprinkle them on everything from salads to yogurt. As far as seeds, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower are great sources of protein. Perhaps try a seed butter on toast with jelly. I prefer jalapeno jelly. I like a little spice.3. Chia seeds have some protein, not as much as nuts or legumes, but they have high nutritional value. They are an incredible source of fiber with nearly 11 grams of fiber in a single ounce. That is 1/2 your daily value of fiber. They contain 18% of your daily calcium requirement, which is more that triple the amount you get from a serving of milk. And they have no flavor so you can add a tablespoon to almost anything. Throw them in the blender with a shake or mix them in with some rice. They won't alter the flavor of anything you eat.4. Tofu and Tempeh - Tofu has 8 grams of protein per serving while Tempeh has 18 grams per serving. Literally, use tofu in place of chicken in any recipe. You can make a burger with it or use it in chili or seasoned or broiled into a high-protein crouton on a salad. But look for organic products to avoid GMOs (genetically modified organism). If you are not a fan of the texture of soy or tempeh, you can try soy in the form of soy milk which has 8 grams of protein per glass. Do not make soy your main source of protein though because too much can cause issues with hormones in your body for both women and men. Aim for one serving of soy per day maximum.5. Hemp - Hemp seeds contain 6 grams of protein per ounce and hemp milk has 2 grams per cup. So if you are freaked out by the potential affects on your hormones by soy, then hemp products are the next best choice. Hemp is sold as a dairy alternative or as seeds and is one of the very few plants proteins that supply you with all the essential amino acids. These acids are necessary to build muscle and create more protein. The fatty acids in hemp seeds and hemp milk also boost your immune system.6. Eggs contain 6 grams of protein per egg. The protein in eggs has the highest biological value which is a measure of how well it supports your body's protein needs of any food, including beef. The yolks contain vitamin B12.7. Greek Yogurt has 15 - 20 grams of protein per 6 ounce serving. All dairy sources are good sources of protein but Greek Yogurt contains the same amount of protein as a three ounce serving of lean meat. So top that off with a handful of nuts and you will get a large amount of your daily protein in a single meal.8. Avocados contain 4 grams of protein per avocado. All veggies contain between 1 - 2 grams of protein per cup but avocados (which are technically a fruit) but avocados contain twice that. The protein in avocado also contains all nine essential amino acids. The same acids your body needs to build muscle.9. Pseudograins - These are actually seeds that are cooked and served like grains. Some wonderful pseudograins include quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, and wild rice. Pseudograins are a great alternative for people that have an intolerance to the gluten in wheat, barley and rye. However whole grains contain decent amounts of protein, wheat providing the highest plant based protein of any food. If you decide to eat corn, choose blue over the yellow and white because it has 30% more protein. So as you can see there are lots of options and alternatives to get appropriate amounts of protein in the diet when following a vegetarian lifestyle.