Thinking about switching to a vegetarian diet? I personally have been a vegetarian for almost 13 years. When I was younger, I stopped eating meat for the purpose of animal rights but I have continued not eating meat for the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Many people assume they will not consume enough protein if they cut out meat all together; however, there are a variety of other sources of protein that can be incorporated into a vegetarian diet.
Beans and lentils are great sources of protein and also contain numerous other health benefits with little fat. They can be cooked in a variety of ways and can be thrown into salads, soups, or even just eaten alone. Tofu is also one of my favorite meat substitutes. A lot of people don’t give tofu a chance but it’s delicious! It just needs to be cooked the right way. Undercooked tofu can have an odd texture. Another great thing about tofu is you can pretty much make it taste any way you want depending on the seasoning. It doesn’t have too much taste alone, so it can work in almost any situation including desserts.
Aside from meat substitutes, you can also get protein from grains, nuts, and veggies. Dairy products are also a great source of protein, unless you are trying to eat a vegan diet which cuts out all products from animals. Look for low-fat options of milk and yogurt in order to get the protein without all the fat. Peanut butter has about 8 grams in two tablespoons. A cup of spinach has about 5 grams. As long as you eat a wide range of foods, you can consume enough protein throughout the day.
To learn more tips and tricks about eating vegetarian, check out a few of the articles on Vegetarianism at Eat Right.