4 High-protein alternatives to meat that YOU can start eating today
Whether you're vegetarian or you simply don't like meat, we've got you covered. This list includes two options with high levels of (healthy) fat, and two that are much leaner. Let's get into it.
Almonds are, in my opinion, the perfect workout nut. They're high in calcium, magnesium, zinc and (most importantly) phosphorus, which means they're great for getting your phosphorus back after a workout.
They're high in fat, at a whopping 49.93 grams of fat per 100g, but they're also high in protein, at 21.15 grams (source: USDA). This makes almonds a great food for bulking up, but not so great for those looking to cut calories or slim down.
You can also eat walnuts, which are slightly more expensive but host a modicum of health benefits. Walnuts have been proven to lower your bad cholesterol, and also are a source of melatonin, meaning eating them can help to regulate your sleep.
Finally, pistachios are not just high in fibre and vitamin B6, but their shells will also help you if you're on a diet.
There is a term; the 'Pistachio Effect', and what it means is that if you're eating nuts with shells on, you'll consume fewer calories than if you were eating nuts without shells, but still feel just as full.
A study was conducted where some participants were offered nuts with shells, and some were offered nuts without. The average number of calories consumed for those eating nuts in shells was 125, for those eating shelled nuts, it was 211, with the same rating of fullness and satisfaction for each group.
Contrary to what some people might tell you, eating eggs won't increase your risk of heart problems. The small amount of cholesterol in eggs has a minimal effect on your blood cholesterol.
If you're looking to bulk up, one boiled egg will contain 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of healthy fats, making it a pretty good meal, especially along with some salad or bread.
Those who are watching their calories can rejoice in the fact that almost all of the fat is stored in the yolk, making a the egg white a great option for those looking for leaner meals.
In 100 grams of egg yolk, there are 26.54 grams of fat and 15.86 grams of protein at 322 calories.
In 100 grams of egg white, there are only 0.17 grams of fat and 10.90 grams of protein at just 52 calories.
This means that you get about 4.3 times as much protein and 0.04 times as much fat from egg white compared to egg yolk, in terms of calories. The results are clear; egg whites are the king of a lean diet with high protein!
In 100g of raw, white mushrooms, there are only 0.34 grams of fat and 22 calories, which is very impressive considering they also contain 3.09 grams of protein.
Mushrooms are the holy grail of dieting or staying healthy in general, due to the high protein and fat content compared to the miniscule amount of fat, along with the fact that they can be prepared a modicum of ways and still taste delicious. Mushrooms are a food you can eat on a diet without feeling miserable.
For healthy, low calorie ways of preparing mushrooms, try roasting or grilling them for an amazing texture. You can also swap out the meat in any dishes for mushrooms, as mushrooms share many properties with meat, such as their umami (savoury) flavour and the fact that they release juices when cooked.
4: Chickpeas & Lentils
Chickpeas are amazing. I know I've said that about everything on this list but chickpeas, they're something else. Every time you think you know everything you find out another benefit to eating them.
For one, they have been shown to aid in appetite regulation, and help you feel full. They also have only 6.04 grams of fat per 100g, compared to 20.47g protein.
Their low sodium content will help you maintain a low blood pressure, their soluble fibre content will help you regulate blood sugar and defend against diabetes. Finally, their high calcium, iron and zinc content will strengthen your bones (which is very useful if you're lifting weights or doing calisthenics).
As for lentils, try 0.38 grams of fat and 9.02 grams of protein per 100g. Just like chickpeas, their low sodium and high potassium levels will help you fight against high blood pressure, and lentils themselves are packed with iron.
The dynamic duo of chickpeas & lentils is essential for any healthy diet.
You don't have to eat meat to get protein, in fact a lot of the other things you need in your diet; fiber, antioxidants, etc. you just can't get from meat. Even if you're a meat eater, try incorporating the four alternatives listed above into your everyday diet.
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