So you’ve decided to make the switch to vegetarianism, or maybe you’re on the fence and can’t quite take the plunge. Let’s break it down a little to help make your decision easier! The vegetarian diet is essentially a diet without meat. But we must go even further to distinguish the type of vegetarian diet, as there are a few different classifications.
Classifications of Vegetarianism
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian: includes milk products like eggs, yogurt, milk, and cheese, but excludes meat, poultry, seafood, and fish
- Lacto Vegetarian: includes milk and dairy, but avoids eggs
- Vegan: avoids all animal products or byproducts – this includes all meat and dairy
- Ovo Vegetarian: avoids all meat and dairy, but includes eggs
- Pescatarian “Semi-Vegetarian”: excludes red meat, but includes fish and seafood
Plant-Based Protein Sources
Packing your diet with fruits and vegetables should be easy, right? But what about protein? We’ve compiled a list of plant-based protein sources to help make your elimination of meat a breeze!
01 Lentils are an incredible source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. They can be added to soups, salads, bowls and more. Combine with rice, quinoa, or another grain for a heartier meal option. There are 18 grams of protein per cup of lentils.
02 Chickpeas are a type of legume that pack benefits and flavor. Add texture to a salad or roast and season for the crunchy snack. There are 15 grams of protein per one cup of boiled chickpeas.
03 Quinoa is an excellent gluten-free grain that can be used in the place of rice or oatmeal. It’s a great source of protein and fiber. 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 7-9 grams of protein.
04 Seeds such as sunflower, chia, pumpkin, and flax, are all wonderful sources of protein and other vitamins and minerals. Simply sprinkle on top of soups, salads, smoothies or other meals for added flavor and protein. And let’s not forget about the healthy fats! Protein varies.
05 Tempeh is cooked (usually fried) fermented soybeans that pack 15.4 grams of protein per ½ cup! It’s considered a complete protein and is earthy in flavor. Tempeh provides great added taste (and fiber) to soups, salads, pasta sauces, and more.
06 Nuts and Nut Butters are easy and quick sources of protein. Add a spoonful of almond butter to your oatmeal or smoothie for added flavor, protein, and healthy fats. 1 tablespoon of almond butter has 3.4 grams of protein.
07 Black Beans are a delicious way to add flavor to soups, tacos and more! Black beans pack 15 grams of protein per cup and can be seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, and cilantro for a Mexican spin.
08 Tofu is made similarly to cheese and is sourced from condensed soy milk. It is pressed into solid cubes and then seasoned and served atop salads, soups, smoothies, scrambles, and curries. There are 11 grams of protein per 4 ounces of tofu and it is considered a low-calorie, complete protein.
09 Edamame is technically a young soybean served in the pod or already hulled and served out of the pod. (The actual pod is not edible). Edamame, also a complete protein, goes great sprinkled on a salad and is delicious by itself as a little snack. 1 cup of shelled edamame has 17 grams of protein.