Best Way To Get Protein Without Meat: Everything You Need to Know
If you're a vegan bodybuilder, it may seem like your protein sources are limited. This is because meat may never be a part of your diet. However, the truth is that various foods supply your body with protein without you having to eat meat.
Replacing animal protein with plant-based protein has more benefits to your health. Alternative healthy sources of protein will keep your muscle mass active. They’ll also help you avoid injury, and ensure you maintain a healthy immune system.
Read on to learn the best way to get protein without meat.
How to Incorporate More Protein in Your Vegan Diet
Vegan bodybuilders can get a lot more protein from their diet with proper planning. Just because you abstain from meat is no reason to suffer the consequences of not getting enough of a protein supply.
Some tips on incorporating more protein into your diet are as follows.
1. Include Some Protein in Side Dishes
The discussion about proteins tends to revolve around main dishes like meat or fish. People seem to forget about side dishes that may be the most significant source of their daily dietary protein requirements.
Beans, legumes, and some grains are perfect side dishes that you could incorporate a little more often in your meals. Consider whipping up a batch of hummus and make some black bean burgers weekly.
Another popular side dish rich in protein is quinoa. It’s a gluten-free grain that’s also rich in fiber. Every serving provides six grams of protein.
The grain is best accompanied by stir-fries or added to salads for an additional dose of protein.
2. Use Meat Substitutes in Meat-Based Dishes
Soy is one of the protein products that serve as a healthy alternative to meat. However, it should be used in moderation since it can pose a health risk to humans. Genetically modified varieties are especially more harmful.
Traditionally fermented soy products like tempeh and tofu are considered healthy for human consumption. Tempeh is a product of fermented soybeans. They’re mixed with grains like rice or barley to give them a firm texture and nutty flavor.
Another substitute is a wheat protein that is used as mock meat in many dishes. It's dense and chewy, and a small portion of it keeps you full for a long time.
2. Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are a good source of protein, best consumed after a workout. Consuming protein 30 minutes to two hours after training helps repair muscles and prevents muscle aches. There are several dairy-free protein powders available on the market.
3. Go Easy on Carbs
In most cases, when people give up meat, they tend to eat more carbohydrates to feel fuller. They also snack on unhealthy food items. A diet high in simple carbs like pasta or bread can cause spikes in blood sugar, which leads to cravings and hunger.
Instead of choosing simple carbs, go for high-fiber ones like whole grains, nuts, and berries. Pair them with a protein source at each snack.
4. Be Creative
You can get creative with the recipes you have and add some substitutes not included in the original recipe. Choose your snacks wisely and go for items like sunflower seeds and trail mix.
Add nuts and seeds to your salads and other dishes. Use protein powder in your morning oatmeal.
Benefits of Non-Meat Protein Sources
Consuming non-meat protein sources is more beneficial to you, not just now but also in later years. The very first benefit is that plant-based proteins are cheaper. If you’re on a fixed income, they’ll help you watch your food budget without much strain.
Plant-based proteins also help improve digestion. Legumes and protein seeds like chia and flaxseeds are full of healthy fibers that improve digestion and absorption. When you consume them, your chances of developing symptoms of gas and bloating are lower than when you consume meat.
Plant-based proteins are also metabolism boosters. The content of protein and fiber means that the body takes a while to digest foods. As the body adjusts to metabolizing plant proteins, the body's system becomes better at burning extra fat.
Improves General Health
Meat and dairy products are a great source of cholesterol and saturated fats. Plant-based proteins, on the other hand, lack in these fats and are rich in sterols. These are crucial in promoting overall heart health and general well-being.
Most animal-based proteins sometimes contain added hormones and antibiotics. These can accumulate in your body over time and lead to adverse health effects. Plant-based proteins are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, naturally produced by plants and essential for promoting health.
They also contain vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health.
On their downside, plant-based proteins are believed to be incomplete protein sources. This means that they lack some of the nine essential amino acids. However, combining two or three plant proteins will ensure you get all the essential amino acids.
Soy, edamame beans, tempeh, and golden peas are complete protein sources, containing all nine essential amino acids. However, if they're not readily available, consider supplementing your plant protein sources with each other.
Plant-based Proteins with Good Amounts of Protein
Some of the best sources of proteins after meat are in the form of grown foods. Here are some viable options that are also readily available.
1. Soya Beans
Soya beans are a complete source of proteins, which means they contain the essential amino acids. Their protein content is comparable to animal protein, but they’re lower in fat, iron, and fiber. Taking 25 grams of soy protein daily, as opposed to meat, can go a long way in lowering cholesterol levels.
This portion is equivalent to one glass of soya milk, 80g serving of tofu, or a pot of soy yogurt.
Pulses are a readily available source of protein and also affordable. They are high in fiber, and unlike soya beans, they also contain iron. They're from the legume family, and they comprise peas, beans, and lentils.
Daily intake of pulses helps to keep cholesterol levels low. If you buy canned legumes, ensure you check the label. The best type is one that doesn't contain added salt or sugar. Salt should be consumed in moderation, about 6 grams per day.
Eating a lot of salt is linked to high blood pressure, which is a predisposing factor to heart disease. Consider choosing canned pulses that contain salt substitutes that reduce the sodium content but don’t change the quality of the product.
Pulses are easy add-ins to soups, stews, and sauces, even if not included in the original recipe. A 3-tablespoon serving of baked beans, lentils, and chickpeas provides 6, 9, and 8 grams of protein.
Quinoa is a seed derived from a green vegetable in the family of chard and spinach. It’s cooked and eaten in the same way as grains but is a source of protein. What makes quinoa a source of functional proteins is not the amount you should consume, but the quality of protein.
Unlike most other cereals, quinoa has all the essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein source. It's a natural substitute for pasta and rice, which are cereals that contain no protein. A portion of five tablespoons, when cooked, provide 8 grams of protein.
There’s a wide range of nuts to choose from, all of which are known to provide a good dose of protein. Nuts are also packed with fiber to help with digestion. Although high in fat and calories, they’re friendly to the heart since the fats are unsaturated.
However, limit your daily intake of nuts to a handful. 30 grams of peanuts, walnuts, and hazelnuts provide 8, 4, and 4 grams of protein, respectively.
5. Cereals and Grains
You can get some protein content from wholegrain bread, rice, and pasta. They also contain fiber and iron in larger quantities than their white versions. Brown rice served with beans, or bread with nut butter will be as sufficient in terms of protein provision as a piece of meat.
Wholegrain rice has 7 grams of protein in every 75 grams when cooked. A medium slice of wholegrain bread has 3 gram of protein while 40 grams of uncooked oats has 4 grams of protein.
Since your focus is on avoiding meat, consider dairy products for your protein supply. Yogurt and milk will nourish you not only with protein but also with calcium for the bones.
Choose lower-fat dairy options to keep the level of saturated fats low. You’ll also avoid compromising on the amount of protein and calcium.
Every 200 ml of milk contains 7 grams of protein and 30 grams of cheddar cheese has 8 grams of protein. 150ml of plain yogurt has 7 grams of protein.
It's said that eggs are bad for your heart because they contain cholesterol. However, it is saturated fats that you need to worry about in terms of blood cholesterol levels. Eggs contain a minimal amount of saturated fats and instead are rich in B12 and Vitamin D.
There’s no limit to the number of eggs you can eat. However, if you have a condition known as familial hypercholesterolemia, talk to your dietician or physician about egg intake.
Two medium eggs provide 14 grams of protein.
The amount of fat in fish is relatively low, and the protein content is high. Some types of fish, like salmon, mackerel, and sardines contain a high amount of fat but are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These are quite helpful for the health of your heart.
Two portions of fish consumed weekly will provide sufficient amounts of protein. One part should be oily. 140 grams of baked fish contain 25 grams of proteins.
Cheese is a dairy product that’s also an excellent source of protein. Many people think that a healthy-heart diet shouldn’t contain cheese, but it’s safe when consumed in moderation. Some unique high-protein types of cheese are:
This is a fresh and soft type of cheese with a creamy texture and mild tangy taste. It contains other minerals like calcium for healthy bones. It’s free from fat and doesn’t have added salt.
II). Cottage Cheese
This is a curd-based fresh cheese that contains a lower fat content than most other cheese types. It contains 6% fat and 3% saturated fat. However, there are different versions of cottage cheese that contain less than 1% saturated fat.
Cottage cheese can be eaten on its own or with fruits and veggies. It’s advisable to obtain the unflavored type to avoid those with added sugars and salts.
III). Reduced-Fat Cheddar
Cheddar is a popular type of cheese around the world. It varies in flavor depending on its aging process and its origin. The reduced-fat type has 30% less fat than the standard cheddar variety.
It's an excellent alternative to standard cheddar cheese primarily if used as a sandwich filling.
Ricotta is a type of cheese that dates back to the Bronze Age. It’s an Italian curd cheese produced from leftover whey. It’s a healthier choice compared to other types of cheese since it contains less salt and fat.
Its grainy texture and delicate flavor allow you to use it on its own or in sweet and savory dishes.
This semi-soft cheese is traditionally made from Italian water buffalo milk. The curds derived from milk are heated in water until they become elastic. The cheese melts well and comes with a unique stretchiness, which makes it the classic pizza topping.
The reduced-fat version of mozzarella contains 10% fat and 7% saturated fat.
Some types of cheese to avoid include camembert, brie, Danish blue, and parmesan.
After eliminating meat from your diet in trying to achieve your bodybuilding goals, you need reliable protein sources. Several protein sources provide protein content as high as meat protein, offering you the best way to get protein without meat.
Some good choices include pulses, soya beans, eggs, milk, and some cereals and grains. Cheese is also an excellent protein source, but be cautious about the different types.
With this knowledge, strive to incorporate these protein sources in both your primary and side dishes. With time, you won't be needing meat to get protein, particularly when you want to shift to a vegan diet.