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Brainstorming ideas for meals that will help you meet your daily protein goals can be overwhelming. As a vegetarian, my diet used to consist of only leafy greens and beans, great sources of protein, but can get old quickly. From there, I learned about the various vegetables and grains I could incorporate into my diet that would add flavor and help me reach my daily protein goal too! While you don’t have to completely cut meat out of your diet, here are some vegetarian options to consider.
As a Texas native, a love for tacos is in my blood. Since becoming a vegetarian, I have replaced chickpeas for chicken in my tacos. Chickpeas are packed with 16 grams of protein per cup (ppc). They’re not only the main ingredient in hummus, but also serve as great salad toppings and make healthier crouton alternatives during the “soup season”.
Recently, quinoa has increased in popularity due to its versatility and the fact that is also a great source of protein. One of my favorite ways to use quinoa is in making a delicious power bowl. You can even use this awesome grain in salads to add more flavor to your greens!
This is my go-to veggie. This exceptionally versatile vegetable is great in a salad, as a pizza topping, in a smoothie, or just sautéed. It’s one of the easiest greens to work with and can be effortlessly incorporated into your diet.
Avocados are also an easy way to spice up your daily dishes. They are packed with 4.6 grams of ppc and make an excellent butter alternative. They can even be used to add a punch of protein to brownies, muffins and chips! I frequently indulge in avocado toast for breakfast and start my day with a high-protein treat that tastes and feels great. Here are some other tasty ways to use avocados.
Let’s talk about another favorite of mine— lentils! These legumes serve as an awesome source of protein and will provide 37% of the USDA recommended daily protein intake. Lentils are a common staple in vegetarian recipes and are often used in soups, hummus, and as a main ingredient in veggie burgers! Lentils are another vegetable that can be used in various recipes.
I keep raw, unsalted almonds at work for a healthy snack during my 2 p.m. slump. These nuts are not only packed with 30 grams of ppc, but help keep energy levels up as well (you can only have so much coffee throughout the day). I’m sure many of us have heard about almond milk, but you can also find them in cheese and almond butter, which are delicious!
There are so many more delicious veggies and grains you can incorporate into your diet that are excellent sources of protein! And if you’re looking for some added nutrition, that’s what Juice Plus+ Complete is for! What are some of your favorite recipes that use vegetables and grains as your main source of protein? Share in the comments below!