• Sumo

First off, let’s be clear: if you’re a healthy vegetarian, you probably get all the protein you need. Protein is literally in everything we eat – and all the essential amino acids, no less – so there is no need to worry. For more information regarding the protein myth, click here

But! If you’re very active or athletic, are pregnant or nursing, or are just plain worried about your protein intake, there are plenty of vegetarian sources of it out there. Naysayers abound in proclaiming meat as the end-all in protein, but this is merely a lie perpetuated by the meat industry to get you to buy more of it (and the Atkins Diet certainly doesn’t help). Protein is protein, and it’s the same no matter what source you get it in. It is true that meat has more protein, but it is an excessive amount when eaten on a daily basis.

Here is a list of some vegetarian protein sources that are sure to fulfill whatever your need is in terms of daily intake. All of these eaten with a variety of other fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, will ensure that you get all the other essential vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates, in addition to protein. So, eat up!

Quinoa: Surely, this is one of the super world’s super foods. It packs a good amount of protein into the foundation of meals, with a hearty 8gr in about a cup. There are all sorts of other health benefits that go along with quinoa, such as antioxidants, improving the cardiovascular system, and improving colon health. Eating quinoa on a regular basis – once or twice a week – will prove to be a strong, delicious staple in your diet.

Lentils: One cup of cooked lentils will provide you with a staggering 35% of your daily protein needs. Not only that, but they’re completely delicious and ridiculously cheap! Make sure to stop by your bulk section and fill a big bag up, because lentils will also serve as a convenient, healthy foundation for any meal. The best part is that they’re very quick to cook – no soaking required (like most other dried beans). There are plenty of other nutrients in here that will help diversify your nutrient intake, such as folates, fiber, manganese, potassium, iron, and other goodies!

Nuts:  Let’s take almonds, for instance: one small handful will give you 6gr of protein. That’s a whole lot for a small handful., They also provide good, unsaturated fats and fiber, as well. They’ve also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad kind). While nuts are a good source of protein – and fat – too much of a good thing can be, ultimately, detrimental. They just have a little too much fat in them to eat on a regular basis. Try eating a small handful of these once a day for that protein boost you might need.

Seeds: Seeds make for a subtle way to add protein to your diet. Sunflower seeds, poppy, flaxseed, sesame, etc., can all be thrown into a variety of foods you might be making. Baking a loaf of bread? Through a handful of seeds in. Cooking up pasta with white sauce? Flaxseed would be a great addition. Eating a bowl of cereal? Flaxseed again! Seeds are filled with all sorts of other foods that will benefit your health. Seeds are the start of life – they need to be nutritionally dense!