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My Top 5 Vegetarian Proteins

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With more people switching to a meat-free diet it is easier now than ever to find protein alternatives. This offers great opportunities for you to find more vegetarian friendly meals, even restaurants are starting to offer more than just salad with no meat. It can also get expensive, time consuming, and overwhelming trying to find what you like or don’t like. I have compiled a list of my five favorite/ most used meat-free proteins as a sort of starting point to help people overwhelmed by the process. These are all solely based on my opinion, but I do think they are great places to start.

Morning Star Farms

This is my favorite brand when it comes to easy and fast protein options. They have a large variety of choices and I tend to keep their products on hand. My favorite are the buffalo alternatives to chicken nuggets. I also use the Chik’n Strips and Veggie Grillers Crumbles to substitute in meals, such as sloppy joes. They also have various bean burgers that are really good. I like that most of their foods do not go out of their way to taste exactly like meat or have the same texture. These are not a great meat free protein if you are looking to eat healthy. They are on average or somewhat better with ingredients than other meat replacement brands, but they are still not healthy to be eating for every meal every single day.

Protein Powder

Finding a protein powder that I like has been a total game changer. I usually have a protein shake once a day because it is so easy. Personally, I use Orgain’s (not an affiliate link) plant-based protein powder because it is dairy free and has 21 grams of protein per serving. The texture is not as grainy as some protein powders can be. I use a portable blender to mix my protein shakes and I do think it helps with that texture. You don’t just have to use protein powder in a shake or smoothie either. The powder can be mixed into foods such as oatmeal. Depending on the flavor you could even add protein powder to more savory style meals.

Tofu

Tofu is such an easy way to add protein to a meal. It is a popular vegetarian option when you go to restaurants, especially Asian food, and can be used for so many recipes. I have yet to find a specific brand I prefer over another, but I usually try sticking with firm or extra firm since it is the easiest to work with. You can find tons of recipes, tips, and tricks online for cooking tofu. It does not have much flavor, so it easily absorbs the flavor of whatever you are cooking. I recommend squeezing the water out, freezing it, and then thawing it out before using it. This gives it a nice texture and I feel like it is easier to work with as well. Tofu is not always going to be the healthiest alternative though it is healthier than a lot of the processed foods.

Beans

Beans are a great source of protein that can be easily incorporated into almost any meal or made into a side dish. They are a cheaper option when it comes to meat-free protein alternatives. I would say arguably the most budget friendly, and they have a great shelf life. Canned beans can be eaten fresh out of the can so they should always be kept on hand in case of emergency. What I like the most about beans is they are relatively bland, which makes it easy to season them based on the type of meal you are making. I even make brownies with black beans to have a fun somewhat healthy treat that still has protein. Beans are also one of the cleanest and healthiest proteins you can make.

Hemp Seeds

A more recent discovery of mine are hemp seeds. I buy mine off Amazon, though they can be found in grocery stores as well. They are small seeds that have ten grams of protein in only three tablespoons. I add them to EVERYTHING. They have a nutty flavor to them, but I often find this to be overpowered by whatever food they are added to. This makes it easier to add them to almost anything you make. I have tried them in ramen, eggs, soup, rice, yogurt, smoothie bowls, oatmeal, and cereal, and they were a great protein addition to each. They can also be easily blended into foods. This makes it easy to add protein to foods like spaghetti sauce and smoothies. One of my favorite foods to make is toast with peanut butter, fruit, and hemp seeds to give it an extra protein boost.

Protein is Important

Making sure you get enough protein is a very important part of eating meat-free. The easiest way to do so is to find options you like that can be easily incorporated into almost everything you eat. This is not a complete list either, just some of my favorites. Peanut butter and eggs, for example, are also easy ways to incorporate protein. There are also other brands like Morning Star Farms that offer meat alternatives, some are even closer to being like meat if you do want that. I like to find recipes that easily add protein to my diet. I can’t tell you the best options that work for you, but I do hope this list can help give you some options and new ideas.

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savvy@blogwithsavvy.com

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