Gourmet Services has been in the contract food services business for a very long time, and if there’s one thing we know it’s that diets and the way consumers view foods constantly change. Today there are many who have become vegetarians and therefore do not eat meat. Because many types of meat are great sources of protein, vegetarians must find their protein in other foods, but this can be challenging when dining out. What are the best substitutes, and which are readily available at many restaurants?
Green peas contain about 7.9 grams of protein per cup, so they’re a great source of protein. If you aren’t a fan of green or “English” peas, try blending a bit of olive oil, pine nuts, frozen green peas, and fresh mint with some Parmesan cheese to top linguine – a delicious meatless meal!
Almonds contain an amount of protein similar to peanuts and are more nutritious; top your salad with a handful of almonds for a shot of protein and a delicious crunch.
Not all vegetables have substantial amounts of protein; in fact most don’t have nearly the protein nuts, legumes, and beans do, but there are a few exceptions. Broccoli is number one when it comes to protein at 8.1 grams per cup, and raw spinach will provide 2.1 grams if you eat two cups. It’s apparent – when it comes to veggies, choose leafy greens. Avocados are a super source of protein, so be sure to include them in your diet.
Speaking of beans and legumes, most are super-high in protein including black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and other types. Adding beans to your diet is one of the very best ways to incorporate protein when you’re a vegetarian and don’t eat meat.
Quinoa provides more than 8 grams of protein per cup, and is technically a seed while often referred to as a grain. Whether added to vegetarian chili, tossed with leafy greens and vegetables as a salad, or eaten as a warm breakfast cereal topped with brown sugar and fruit, there are lots of ways to enjoy quinoa and get your protein!
Soy milk and soybeans. Soybeans can be steamed when added to a vegetable dish or salad, and is usually called edamame when prepared this way. Tofu is fabulous in Asian dishes, and is a great replacement for beef or chicken.
Today there are countless vegetarian options offered on grocery store shelves, and many of the protein substitutes mentioned above can be found at restaurants when you eat out – just be sure to ask if you don’t see them on the menu.
From Greek yogurt to cottage cheese, hemp, sesame seeds and even unsweetened cocoa powder, there are many great sources of protein for the millions of people who choose a vegetarian diet and healthy lifestyle.
Gourmet Services, Inc. is a contract food services company in Atlanta focusing on food service management that brings quality, fresh, healthy menu choices to the table for restaurants, corporate dining, education facilities, and more.