Tryin’ to jumpstart your fitness journey? Or maybe you’re going vegan! Or you’re just trying to get your protein in – counting your macros. Heck, even if you don’t like meat! It doesn’t matter why you’re looking up ways to include non-meat protein alternatives into your diet. The important thing is that you maintain a balanced diet and get your protein in. Any diet that suggests that you isolate any particular macronutrient is a diet you should stay FAR from! Every food group is crucial for your health, even if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan! Protein is NOT just meat – even if a lot of us have that belief. The benefits of protein are countless! It’s suitable for your hair, nails, skins, bones, and muscles. So, pretty much your whole body! Just like each macronutrient has its vital role in the wellbeing of your body, which is why you should never cut any one of them out of your diet. So, you want some excellent non-meat protein alternatives? We got you! We have 13 different unusual sources of protein that will have you wanting more!
The Best Non-Meat Protein Alternatives! Pack-a-Punch with Flavor!
The thing about protein alternatives is that sometimes they don’t provide the full effect that proteins have. Meaning, proteins have nine essential amino acids that your body doesn’t naturally produce. But they are necessary for your body. Hence, their name! Whenever a particular food has all these nine amino acids, they’re called complete protein sources. All meat-based proteins have them! That’s why they get all the protein hype. But, we can do that with non-meant protein alternatives too. You can still get your protein fix with plant-based non-meat protein alternatives dishes! We’ll tell you exactly how!
The mother of grains! The most famous of all non-meat protein alternatives is quinoa! It’s the champ of our list, and it has been there for AGES. It belongs to the grain family, and it is jam-packed with protein! It’s a complete protein that does not come from a cow. Pretty impressive. It’s even better than meat. Why? Well, quinoa has much more to offer! It has magnesium, iron, a bunch of fiber, and zinc! That’s all the good stuff you need in your life. It’s one of those perfect non-meat protein alternatives that pretty much goes with every type of dish. You can substitute it in the place of rice, throw it in your soup, make it into porridge, or even a salad! Go wild with it. It’s also very aesthetic because quinoa comes in an array of different colors! But, they all have tons of protein in them! Did we mention it’s also gluten-free?
1 cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein!
Soybeans! The Houdini of all Non-Meat Protein Alternatives
Soybeans are basically magic. Some of the most common non-meat protein alternatives come from soybeans -like tofu, tempeh, and edamame beans. They are all great substitutes for all kinds of meat.
Tofu is exceptionally high in protein! Some people consider tofu to be pretty gross. It does kind of look and feels like a sponge. But that’s just bad rep! You can go for the extra-firm tofu and cook it right. It would taste just like meat! Although, tofu does have one thing in common with a sponge, though. Tofu absorbs flavor, just like a sponge! Which makes it the perfect non-meat protein alternative for when you’re craving a meaty dish. So, go crazy with the marinades, spices, and seasonings. You’ll be surprised how much tofu can pack flavor!
100 grams of tofu has about 10.6 grams of protein!
Another one of our excellent non-meat protein alternatives that comes from soybeans is tempeh! It looks a bit like tofu, but a bit more firm and has a sort of grainy texture. Sounds icky, but we promise it tastes better than it sounds. It takes less prep than tofu. You don’t need to press it or dry it. You go ahead and add it in whatever form you want. It’s perfect to substitute for ground beef or fish filets!
100 grams of tempeh contains about 20.3 grams of protein!
The final soybean baby on this list is edamame beans. Amazing little bundles of joy! That’s honestly what edamame beans are: baby soybeans. They’re even very easy to cook. Just boil them, or steam them and that’s it. Then, you just throw them into your salad or soup. Wherever you usually like to add beans!
100 grams of edamame has around 35.7 grams of protein! Ding ding ding! We have a protein-packed winner!
Chia seeds are cute, and they have a massive community of foodies that love to excite it up in chia seed puddings and acai bowls. So, yes, they’re pretty popular. But, even more than that! Chia seeds contain a lot of protein. Chia seeds are tiny and have little flavor, but it’s effortless to include in any dish. Sprinkle them in your smoothies, or make some pudding. Chia seeds absorb fluids and turn into a gel-like substance. Add some seeds to some milk and leave them overnight. And then, voila! A protein-filled breakfast. You can flavor with whatever you want. Cinnamon, fruits, and syrups. Everything works. The options are endless.
One ounce (28 grams) contains 4 grams of protein. Now that’s something!
Peanut Butter: The Childhood Favorite Non-Meat Protein Alternatives
Peanut butter is the day-old famous nut butter that most of us already really like and eat in our everyday lives. But, did you know that it’s jam-packed (see what we did there?) with protein too? Your PB&J will never look the same to you after today! At some point in your life, you must have come across the fact that nuts, in general, contain a lot of protein. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that nut kinds of butter also include a lot of protein! But, it’s easier to implement the different types of butter in your meals. The easiest way is in your smoothies! Many popular Asian dishes also require peanut butter as one of its main ingredients!
100 grams of peanut butter contains 25 grams of protein! That’s a large amount of protein considering that it’s plant-based!
Yes, fruits contain protein too! Jackfruit not only contains a decent amount of protein but it also kind of looks like meat too! Unripe jackfruit is one of those great non-meat protein alternatives that will really get people fooled! Notice we said unripe! Ripe jackfruit tastes a lot like a cross between a banana and a mango, which might not go so well as a meat substitute. The flesh of unripe jackfruit is very thick and stringy which resembles shredded chicken very much. It’s very convincing as meat! It absorbs a lot of flavors and you can find canned jackfruit! That way you don’t have to worry about it being expensive. Canned jackfruit works just as well.
1 cup of sliced jackfruit contains 3 grams of protein!
The Next of Our Non-Meat Protein Alternatives is Hemp seeds!
Hemp seeds are another great addition to our list of non-meat protein alternatives. They’re tiny and they pack a huge amount of protein! They’re rich in fatty acids and have tons of health benefits. So, it’s a win-win situation. Besides being a great source of protein, they provide a bunch of nutritional value! Added value! Like vitamin E, potassium, sodium, and zinc. And a bunch of other minerals. You can eat hemp seeds raw, like a snack, or you can have them cooked or roasted. Add them into your salad, or blend them in your smoothies.
30 grams of hemp seeds contain about 11 grams of protein!
Nutritional yeast is a form of deactivated yeast that looks like a yellow powder usually used in cheese! It’s easy to replace anywhere you’d add cheese in! But, despite it being a cheese substitute, it’s also great for non-meat protein alternatives. It’s a complete source of protein, and it’s cheesy! What more could we ask for?
One tablespoon of nutritional yeast contains 2 grams of protein!
The Not-So-Popular Non-Meat Protein Alternatives: Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the non-meat protein alternatives we did not like as children. But, we’re all grown up now, and we eat our veggies! That includes broccoli – the tiny trees of the veggie community. These vegetables have more to them than just looking like little trees. They are pretty rich in protein! Who would have thought? It can be roasted, steamed, or baked! Add it t whatever dish you’re eating to add some pop of color and a massive load of vitamins!
1 cup of chopped broccoli contains about 2.5 grams of protein!
You either like kale, or you don’t. It’s that simple. For us, we love kale! It’s nutritious and vitamin-packed! It’s increasingly dense and filled with protein! It has the potential to reduce your cholesterol, decrease the risk of heart disease, and the risk of obesity. It’s a super plant! That’s for sure. And, it happens to be an easy way to get your proteins in. It is one of the most fantastic non-meat protein alternatives! Take it from us, have some kale! Maybe have a green smoothie!
1 cup of kale has 3 grams of protein bro!
Yogurt is pretty awesome and easy to use as non-meat protein alternatives – unless you are on a diet that takes out all dairy products. If not, yogurt is GREAT to substitute for meat when you want to get your protein in. Yogurt is rich in nutrients and helps in the process of digestion. You can even go for yogurt made from organic milk farms! Always a plus! It’s probably the most accessible food on this list to include in your diet. Just make a yogurt bowl, and add some color!
1 cup of plain yogurt has 3.5 grams of protein!
Black Beans: Non-Meat Alternatives #11
Beans, in general, are very inexpensive, which we always like. They’re very healthy, and they keep you feeling full for long! All beans are nutritious, BUT black beans have much more added value. They’ve got tons of proteins! So much so that you’ll start wondering why you even bother with meat! You can make chili, soups, stews, salads, and dips, all with black beans. Pack all the protein you want! Just get the beans.
About 172 grams of black beans has nearly 15.2 grams of protein! Mind Blowing.
Chickpeas also belong to the legume family, which are all generally high in protein. Do you like hummus? Who doesn’t like hummus! Chickpeas have a lot of fibers and complex carbs—all the good stuff. But what’s more important is that chickpeas have a lot of protein! If you base your diet off of legumes to get in your protein, you have a high chance of reducing blood pressure and belly fat! So, go and buy yourself a bag of chickpeas! You can even roast them and add some paprika, and you’ll have a great snack!
About one cup of cooked chickpeas has nearly 15 grams of protein!
Mushrooms: The Final One of the Non-Meat Protein Alternatives
Mushrooms are our favorite of all the non-meat protein alternatives. Mushrooms look more like meat than plants, in our opinion. If you think of it, they kind of look like a chicken. Mushrooms are already used as meat substitutes in a lot of dishes! We got mushroom burgers and mushroom steaks! They have that umami meaty flavor and texture. They soak up anything you flavor them with! That makes them the perfect medium for meat dishes! They are delicious and filling. They will hit the sweet spot when you have a meaty craving! There are tons of different types, so the number of protein ranges! Either way, you’ll be getting your protein in the right way!
In general, 100 grams of mushrooms contain about 3.1 grams of protein!
So, still craving some meat?
This list sure has our stomach growling. It’s pretty easy to switch off to plant-based dishes when you have all the non-meat protein alternatives. You can go on whatever diet or lifestyle you want, and not compromise you daily needed amount of protein! Yu have to take care of your body! Give it what it wants. Get in your protein, bro!