Healthy Eating

Here you will find tons of information about healthy eating and incorporating the principles of healthy nutrition into your daily life. Built around Dr. Cederquist’s nutritional foundation for healthy weight loss, these articles place a wealth of information right at your fingertips.

10 Underrated Meat-Free Protein Sources to Try

When the word "protein" comes to mind, animal meats generally flood the mind. Although vegetarianism and veganism choices are individualized, research shows that a plant-based diet can result in weight loss. Try these 10 plant based protein options.


When the word "protein" comes to mind, animal meats generally flood the mind. From steak, to chicken, to pork, animal meats are vastly used in meals as a major protein source. Although vegetarianism and veganism choices are individualized, research does show following a plant-based diet can result in weight loss and the reduction of chronic diseases.

1. Cottage Cheese

Calcium-rich cottage cheese is a versatile, vegetarian protein! Add cottage cheese for creaminess in smoothies, extra cheesiness in lasagna, or simply eat as is or pair with fresh peaches, pears, or pineapples.

Protein: 13 grams per 1/2 cup

2. Soymilk

Generally, milk outlying from standard cow's milk lacks significant amounts of protein. However, soymilk is an excellent alternative for those with lactose intolerance or following a vegan protein diet.

Protein: 8 grams per 1 cup (8-ounces)

3. Peanut Butter

The general misconception of peanut butter as "unhealthy" makes this plant-based protein generally underrated. When choosing peanut butter, look for and avoid added sugars and oils on the nutrition label. Other nut butters such as almond butter also provides protein.

Protein: 8 grams per 2 tablespoons, or golf ball-sized

4. Avocados

Avocados are known for their notorious healthy fat content. What you may have not known, though, is that they are one of the fruits that actually contain a modest amount of protein. Avocados are also a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids the body cannot make!

Protein: 7 grams per one medium-sized avocado

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Although anything pumpkin is craved each fall season, pumpkin seeds typically go unnoticed. Roast pumpkin seeds and add to dishes for extra texture. Be sure to consume the shells for added fiber!

Protein: 7 grams per 1 ounce, or a small handful

6. Peas

Peas are a high protein vegetable that are often overlooked. However, this podded veggie is rich in B vitamins as well as vitamins A and C, thiamin, and iron. Throw in casseroles, salads, or pair with a main dish!

Protein: 7 grams per 1 ounce, or a small handful

7. Lentils

Lentils are a part of the legume family, just the way beans and peas are. They come in three main varieties including brown, green, and red and are an excellent source of fiber, folate, and iron. Like peas, lentils can compliment meals or coexist in a wide variety of dishes including soups and casseroles.

Protein: 9 grams per 1/2 cup boiled

8. Spinach

Don't let these green, nutrient-rich leaves fool you... They contain strengthening protein as well as iron. If raw spinach is less than appealing, throw in pasta sauces and smoothies for camouflaged nutrients and protein.

Protein: 5 grams per 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw

9. Tempeh

When it comes to vegan options, tempeh typically takes the backseat to tofu. But unlike tofu, tempeh is less processed and is prepared from whole soybeans. Less production results in increased protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins.

Protein: 22 grams per 4 ounces

10. Cheese

Cheese as a meat-free protein seems too good to be true! For a meatless protein snack, pack string cheese or cheese cubes. Add thin slices of cheese on veggie sandwiches for added protein and flavor.

Protein: 7 grams per 1 cheese stick or 1-ounce slice

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on July 27, 2016. Updated on July 28, 2016.


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