Eleven Meat-Free Sources of Protein for Better Health

Protein is essential for a healthy diet. Protein is considered the building blocks of life, and they promote cell growth and repair. They can also help you feel energized and stay fuller longer. While meat and other animal products are a great source of protein, they are not for everybody. Vegetarian or not, here are eleven great sources of protein that don’t come from animals.

  1. Green Peas: One cup of sweet peas has almost the same amount of protein as a glass of milk. If you don’t desire the taste of sweet peas, try mashing them up and adding them to pesto sauces or even guacamole.
  2. Quinoa: Quinoa is a staple in the health food world now and for good reason. It is a gluten-free seed that tastes very similar to rice. It has about eight grams of protein per cup, as well as other important minerals. Add it to a soup or salad for an easy and tasty way to enjoy quinoa.
  3. Nuts and Nut Butters: Both nuts and their butters are a good source of protein. However, since they are higher in calories, it is best to eat them in moderation each day.
  4. Beans: There are so many types of beans to choose from. Take your pick from white, black, pinto, or kidney beans, plus many more. You don’t even have to cook them from scratch to gain the health benefits that beans offer. How much protein do beans pack? Two cups of kidney beans have just as much protein as a Big Mac! Of course, the beans will be much better for your heart and waistline than a Big Mac will be.
  5. Chickpeas: These tasty legumes are also known as garbanzo beans. You can enjoy chickpeas in a wide variety of ways. They are high in protein, as well as fiber. You can make hummus out of them, or add them to salads. You can even roast them for a tasty snack that is comparable to potato chips.
  6. Tempeh and Tofu: Most people would not touch tofu with a 100-foot pole. However, if you learn how to prepare it right, or even how to hide it in sauces, you may find that tofu can be tasty. One half of a cup of tofu and tempeh contains about 15-20 grams of protein.
  7. Edamame: Edamame is an addicting snack that can be eaten in between meals or with your meal. Most sushi restaurants will serve it before the main course too.
  8. Dark Leafy Greens: Who would have thought that delicate plants like the spinach or kale leaves would pack so much protein? Not only do these vegetables have a good source of protein, but they also contain a lot of essential vitamins and minerals.
  9. Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds are the newest craze in the health food world. While hemp may have gotten a bad name from the 60s and 70s, hemp seeds are actually quite nutritious (and drug-free). Just 3 tablespoons contain 10 grams of fiber, and they taste similar to sunflower seeds.
  10. Chia Seeds: Remember the famous Chia Pets from a few decades ago? Turns out those seeds are actually better to eat than to grow funny hair. Chia seeds are good sources of both protein and fiber. They also help keep the body hydrated.
  11. Sesame Seeds, Poppy Seeds, and Sunflower Seeds: All three add protein and taste to a salad or a rice bowl.

Whether you eat meat or not, all eleven of these animal-free protein sources are a good idea to add to your diet. Not only do these eleven foods pack a healthy protein punch, but they also will aid your health in many other ways too. They are easy to sneak into your favorite dishes so that you can get the daily-recommended amount of protein.


Remember to always consult your chiropractor or physician before taking any health advice.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Frédérique Voisin-Demery

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