Whether you’re going vegetarian or just not feeling meat this weekend, you’ve still got to get your energy somewhere. A solid dose of protein (3o to 40 grams) supplies you with brainpower, stronger muscles, and the physical and mental drive to feel your absolute best. Good news: meat products aren’t the only places you can get your protein fix. We’ve put together five of our favorite energizing proteins – and the best ways to use them – so you don’t have to. We suggest eating these foods with tons of delicious veggies to truly lock in the complete range of nutrients your body needs.
#1 Lentils & Beans
Lentils pack 9 grams of protein for every half-cup, while beans (depending on the type) carry about 7.5 grams. Both are convenient and delicious choices since they also come with enough fiber and antioxidants to keep your body full and smoothly functioning for a long time. We also love dried lentils and beans because you can store them in airtight containers for up to 12 months, making them the ideal go-to ingredient when you don’t have time to run to the store. There are many wonderful ways to cook both lentils and beans. Here’s one clean recipe that we love, for a Mediterranean Lentil Dip, from the Minimalist Baker. It’s also pictured above!
Quinoa is one of the easiest (and lightest-tasting) sources of protein we can suggest. Quinoa has about 4 grams per every half cup, and trust us – you’ll probably be eating more than half a cup if you’re eating it with the right recipes. Quinoa is a “complete” protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids our bodies need but don’t necessarily produce. With these amino acids on lock, you’ll feel full, energized, and strong. We think they’re a great gluten-free alternative to grains, meat, and pasta. Not sure how to eat quinoa in a way that’s not boring or basic? We’ve got you covered. Check out our 7 best ways to eat quinoa that aren’t a salad. We also love to use quinoa in our Freshly meals: check out our Paleo Quinoa Porridge and Maple Quinoa Porridge!
#3 Greek yogurt
We love Greek yogurt as both a breakfast meal or as an added ingredient in one of our main dishes. One container of Greek yogurt has about 17 grams of protein. Thanks to its wonderful probiotic profile, it also protects your immune system from bad bacteria build-up, and strengthens the good bacteria in your system. You’ll have a stronger gut and digestive system, along with great skin, higher energy, and stronger muscles.
Tempeh boasts 11 grams of protein for every half cup. That’s a lot of protein. It’s made from fermented soybeans and is much chewier than tofu whether you grill it, bake it, steam it or broil it. Our favorite thing about tempeh is that you can cook it in so many different ways, with so many different flavors. Example: you can put it in your tacos for a Mexican kind of tempeh, go for a sweet and sour tempeh if you’re feeling it, or even make balsamic maple glazed tempeh. Just because. Tempeh is also known to be easily digestible, making it a great choice if you have problems absorbing other protein alternatives.
We can’t say enough good stuff about eggs. You get 7 grams of protein in one whole egg (yolk included), along with B-vitamins, vitamin D, and the nutrient choline, which helps build strong cell membranes and strong brain cells. The protein you get in eggs is also of an incredibly high quality – it has a rating of 100, while beef has one of 75. Read more about the amazing health benefits of eggs here. And, if you’re feeling a little hungry, check out our Freshly breakfast menu, here!