These vegetarian protein sources make it easy to get your protein fill if you’re eating a vegetarian or vegan diet or just trying to eat less meat and more plants. Protein is a key nutrient for growing and maintaining muscles and keeping your skin and hair strong and healthy. It also helps keep you full.
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt, 23 grams of protein per cup.
Greek yogurt is delicious added to smoothies, layered with fruit and granola as a parfait and used as a sour cream substitute on tacos or in dips. It also delivers calcium and gut-healthy probiotics. Choose plain yogurt over flavored varieties to save added sugar.
Lentils, 9 grams of protein per 1/2 cup (cooked)
Lentils are a protein powerhouse stuffed into a tiny package. Not only do they deliver vegan protein, a 1/2 cup of cooked lentils gives you 8 grams of fiber. Fiber is good for your heart, helps keep you full and can keep your weight in check.
3. Chia seeds
Chia seeds, 3 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon
Like hemp, chia seeds are nutrient dense. They deliver protein, fiber and omega-3s. You can blend them into smoothies, make chia-seed jam for toast and bake with them.
Quinoa, 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked)
Quinoa is unique among plant proteins because it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (something most plant-based proteins aren’t). One cup of cooked quinoa also has 5 grams of fiber. Quinoa is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, thiamine and folate. And as an added bonus for those with celiac disease or any gluten sensitivity, quinoa is gluten-free.
5. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, 7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons
Peanut butter, and peanuts, are full of fiber, protein and fat. That winning combination of nutrition helps keep you full. Try peanut butter on toast, blended into smoothies or make a peanut sauce for savory dishes.