You don't need meat to get enough protein every day. Follow these steps and you'll have protein to spare.
Step 1: Have some beans Learn to love beans. Beans, peas, and other legumes are excellent sources of vegetable protein. They also provide needed fiber, including heart-healthy soluble fiber.
TIP: Soybeans pack the most protein per ounce and offer a complete protein, comparable to meat. Soy milk and tofu are good sources of soy protein.
Step 2: Eat like a squirrel Add nuts and nut products to your diet. An ounce of peanuts or almonds provides nearly as much protein as an egg.
TIP: Adding nuts to your diet can help you lose weight. Although they are high in fat, nuts contain "good fat" from omega-3 fatty acids.
Step 3: Go grainy Eat plenty of whole grain foods. Oats, wheat, and rice all add protein to a meal.
Step 4: Get milk Drink milk if you're not vegan. Dairy products are a good source of protein. A cup of milk gives you 9.2 grams, a cup of yogurt almost 10.
Step 5: Eat eggs Eat three or four eggs each week. Eggs have been called the gold standard of protein because they provide the most complete protein available, and plenty of it.
Step 6: Mix it up Combine complementary vegetable proteins to get complete proteins. For instance, grains provide amino acids lacking in legumes, but a dish of beans and rice provides a complete protein.
TIP: Combine different vegetable proteins throughout the day, rather than during each meal.
Step 7: Don't sweat it Follow these guidelines and you'll get plenty of protein. Recent research indicates that we need only half as much protein as was previously believed.
FACT: A 2009 government study found that one in 200 U.S. adolescents is a vegetarian.