It’s National Vegetarian Week from 15-21st May. If you fancy giving a meat-free week a try but are concerned about not getting enough protein in your diet, don’t worry!
We’ve helpfully rounded up the best sources of veggie protein out there and penned some top tips on how to integrate them into your diet:
Nuts, but butters & seeds – With around 20 to 30g of protein per 100g and packed with healthy fats, nuts and seeds are a great choice for vegetarians. Sprinkle them on salads, serve with Greek yoghurt or combine with dates to make energy balls. Spread nut butter on rice cakes, drizzle on overnight oats or serve with slices of apple. Be careful If you are calorie counting though, a handful a day is all you need!
Quinoa – This versatile ancient grain has around 4.4g of protein per 100g and is naturally gluten free. It is packed with fibre and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Use it to replace rice and pasta, in salads or make into a creamy porridge for a morning boost.
Buckwheat – Not actually wheat but a seed, Buckwheat is high in essential nutrients and resistant fibre and makes a great higher protein alternative to flour for use in baking, or as a substitute for oats, wheat pasta and noodles.
Mycoprotein – Meat alternative Mycoprotein (Quorn) is produced by a process of fermentation similar to that used for yeast in bread. Use it as a tasty substitute in meat dishes such as spaghetti bolognese, chilli and curry.
Tofu – A staple in Japanese cookery, Tofu is made from soy beans and has a subtle flavour that can be used in sweet or savoury dishes. It’s low in calories, high in iron and has around 17g of protein per 100g, making it a great substitute in a variety of dishes.
Hummus – Made mostly from chickpeas, Hummus has around 5g of protein per 100g. Spread it on wraps with roasted veggies, on toasted pitta bread or serve with carrot and cucumber sticks.
Eggs and dairy – There’s a difference between vegetarian and vegan; many vegetarians don’t want to give up animal products entirely. Eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese are a great option for people on a meat free diet. Packed with protein, healthy fats and nutrients, the recipe options are endless.
Chia seeds – These tiny seeds have had a lot of publicity of late, and with good reason. They have a fairly impressive 2.5g of protein per tablespoon and are full of satiating fats, fibre and heart healthy omega 3s. Whizz them into a smoothie, sprinkle on porridge or add them to muffins and flapjacks.
Hemp/pea/rice protein – If you prefer to get your protein in shake form then consider a vegetarian protein powder made with hemp, pea or rice protein. Many protein powder manufacturers now produce vegetarian versions that give whey protein a run for its money in terms of flavour, blendability and protein content. Look for ones that contain a high level of vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids.
If you have any questions on nutrition, just ask any of our helpful JD Gyms PTs who you see around the gym, they know pretty much everything there is to know!