Top 5 protein substitutes

If you are a vegetarian or thinking about becoming one, you may be concerned about getting enough protein in your diet. Protein, as we know is crucial for for a range of bodily functions, including muscle growth and repairs.

Here are some good alternative vegetarian sources of protein.

Legumes
Examples are soybeans, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, split peas and baked beans, which can be included in salads, casseroles and soups.

Soy products
These include soy milk, soy yoghurt, tofu and tempeh. Tofu and tempeh are made from pressed bean curd with tempeh containing whole soybeans. Both tofu and tempeh take on the flavours of the food they are cooked with and can be used in stir-fries, soups, casseroles, braises or even crumbled over salads or blended into smoothies.

Wholegrains
Brown rice, buckwheat, polenta, quinoa and amaranth are all good sources of protein and can be used in a wide range of recipes.

Nuts and seeds
While nuts and seeds contain high amounts of protein, they are high in fat, so use in small amounts. A handful as a snack or sprinkled over your salad is ideal.

Eggs and dairy products (for those following a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet)
Eggs, milk, yoghurt and cheese are good sources of protein, but opt for low-fat or skim dairy products.

Most plant foods don’t contain as much protein as animal products, except for nuts and seeds (see below). However, it is possible to obtain your daily requirements by eating a wide-range of foods.

Plant food

Protein per 100g

Animal food

Protein per 100g

Cooked lentils

6.8g

Beef fillet (grilled)

31.9g

Baked beans

4.9g

Kangaroo fillet (grilled)

30.7g

Soy milk

3.1 – 4.2g

Lamb chop (grilled)

32.6

Tofu

11.9g

Chicken breast (baked)

29g

Quinoa (cooked)

4.4g

Turkey breast (baked)

29.4g

Brown rice (cooked)

2.9g

Pork fillet (roasted)

28.5g

Peanuts (raw)

24.7g

Salmon (grilled)

24.3g

Raw pumpkin seeds

24.4g

Prawns (cooked)

27.3g

 

 

Yoghurt (low-fat fruit)

5.2g

The Dietitians Association of Australia recommends vegetarians plan their meals to ensure they meet all nutritional requirements. This is particularly important for new vegetarians or people with special nutritional needs.

What about you, would you consider going vegetarian?