Today, (October 1st) is World Vegetarian Day! An important day for vegetarians all over because it kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month. For those of you interested in and/or new to becoming veg, getting enough protein is very important in order to sustain this life style.
I have been a vegetarian all my life because I never liked the taste of meat. When I was younger, I used to be labelled a ‘picky eater’ because the number of plant-based protein options available were extremely limited. Fast forward to today, and the meatless possibilities are endless.
Every day I have to think consciously about what I’m eating and determine whether or not I’m eating enough protein. These are my go-to vegetarian protein sources that keep me going throughout the day:
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and I agree! My breakfast treat is a bowl of Quaker steel-cut oats. When I was younger, cereal (full of sugar) was my go to breakfast. It had no real nutritional value. Once I tried oats, I was hooked because it made me feel full for hours. That’s because it has 6 grams of protein per serving. Also, it is so versatile, you can add all sorts of toppings for more flavour and more protein. I usually add:
- Peanut butter (~3 grams per serving)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Although I am lactose intolerant, the benefits of eating greek yogurt are too strong, it’s nothing that lactose intolerant pills can’t fix! Not to mention, it makes a great breakfast and/or snack option. With ~16 grams of protein per serving, it sustains me for a very long time. Like oatmeal, I love to add lots of toppings for added flavour and protein. My favourite toppings include: granola, berries and a little bit of honey.
I’m obsessed. Being an inexperienced cook, I love how easy quinoa is to prepare. I usually make enough to fill a large container and eat it throughout the week. I always have grilled or roasted veggies in the freezer that I add into the container as well. Every cup of quinoa has ~8 grams of protein per serving, plus the added nutritional value of the veggies makes for a terrific meal. I usually eat a bowl for lunch or dinner with goat cheese (for extra protein), Sriracha sauce and chilli flakes.
To be honest, I don’t like chickpeas very much 🙈, but I like hummus. My parents introduced it to me when I was young and it has been in my life ever since. It’s a great source of protein, half a cup contains ~7.3 grams. I usually eat it as a snack with veggies but I also love to spread it on wraps and add it to salads when I get a chance.
‘Chicken Nuggets’/ faux meat alternatives
The amount of vegetarian substitutions for people’s favourite meat products is insane! ‘Hot dogs’, veggie burgers, ground ‘beef’, ‘chicken fingers’, etc. There is a substitution for pretty much everything. My favourite so far is Gardein’s Seven Grain Crispy Tenders. Have you ever tried them? They’re amazing! With 32 grams of protein per 4 pieces, I know I will be full for awhile after eating. I also have grilled veggies on the side for an added protein boost.
What are your favourite vegetarian protein sources? Please let me know in the comments. I am always looking to incorporate more variety in my diet.