Vegetarian Protein Meal Ideas | POPSUGAR Fitness

By Julie Upton | May 29, 2015

Move over, meat! Dietitian Julie Upton, MS, RD, of Appetite For Health, shows us how to give our meals a meat-free protein boost.

You don’t need to follow a Paleo diet rich in red meat, eggs, and poultry to get enough protein to build muscle and tamp down hunger. There are plenty of plant-based protein sources, like soy, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and even some veggies, that not only provide protein but also contain nutrients that may help fend off chronic conditions. And since these proteins are lower on the food chain, they’re a more planet-friendly way to eat. Here are four plant-based proteins to add to your shopping cart. All have proven health benefits plus at least as much protein as an egg!


Pea protein is popping in ingredient lists, from breads and snack foods to breakfast cereals and protein powders. A cup of cooked split peas packs in about 16 grams of protein compared to six grams in regular green peas. If you’re looking to build muscle, pea protein has been shown to provide the essential amino acids to help build and repair muscle tissue, similar to whey protein. What’s more, they’re also diet friendly: a meta-analysis study published in the journal Obesity reported that eating about one cup of beans, peas, lentils, or chickpeas resulted in subjects feeling 31 percent fuller.

How to Get More: Split peas are great when made into a hummus-like dip or veggie burgers. You can also use a pea-protein-based protein powder for recovery smoothies. Frozen green peas are an easy side dish; perk them up with lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs.

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Source: Vegetarian Protein Meal Ideas | POPSUGAR Fitness

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