How to Eat a High Protein Diet Without Meat

First, let’s clarify what a diet is.

On average North Americans spend one third of our lives consuming food. What we eat is a large aspect of our daily lives. Thus, a diet is an important part of one’s overall lifestyle. Your diet consists of your day-to-day intake of food necessary to fuel your body. A diet is not a set of guidelines you must follow in order to be successful, so creating strict rules for yourself about what and when to eat will only add stress to your life. Instead, try some of these tips for incorporating high protein foods into your diet for healthy eating habits, without the dissatisfaction of restriction from the foods you already love!

Breakfast

My favourite meal of the day. Because who doesn’t love waking up and then immediately eating food? Breakfast, as we all know, determinates  how the rest of your day will go. So let’s discuss great breakfast foods that will kick start your day with high energy.

High protein and fibre cereals are a great way to consume your morning protein and get out the door for your morning class.

To find these cereals, go to your local grocery store’s natural health aisle and find any cereal that contains 9 grams of protein or more. Almond and pistachio milk are great alternatives if you would like to avoid consuming dairy. To add some beauty and taste to your cereal, add any fruit like goji berries, dried cranberries, etc. If you feel your mornings are getting repetitive, mix it up with some oatmeal!

Hemp and Chia seeds

The more you incorporate, the more you will appreciate the richness that hemp and chia seeds bring to your life. These great and easy to add seeds will leave you feeling highly energized. Simply add four tablespoons to your smoothies and that’s all it takes! You can also get creative and add them to anything you like. For example, sprinkle hemp or chia on a piece of toast with avocado and humus. Hemp seeds can be introduced to many different meals including lunch; for salads just sprinkle them on and you are good to go!

Lunch

Let’s continue this high-energy diet into lunch with some high protein, affordable foods.

Edamame

These beautiful green, cost friendly beans will make your lunch look great and taste yummy! Plus, they are so easy to make. All you need to do is boil water and let them cook for 3-4 minutes! Add these to salads, stir-fries, or simply eat them as a snack! 

Broccoli

Broccoli is a great way to ingest protein when paired with other high-protein foods, and great for consuming your daily dose of greens! It is important to pair this vegetable in order to receive your full protein intake. You can pair broccoli with spinach, edamame, or any other proteins listed here.

Sprouts

One thing I miss about eating meat is sandwiches, until I found a new love for sprouts. Sprouts provide a great source of protein and once again are very easy to incorporate. I eat rye bread with hummus, cucumber, avocado, and sprouts. Broccoli sprouts are one of the highest protein sprouts and one of my favourites. Don’t limit sprouts to sandwiches, they can be paired with any meal like on top of pasta, in a stir-fry, or with a wrap.

Dinner

The focus of this meal should solely revolve around protein!

Tofu noodles

I love pasta! I recently discovered tofu noodles, which I love because the noodles take five minutes to cook, and they are super cheap – sometimes even two dollars for a package. Most importantly, I love them because you receive a satisfying feeling of eating carbs while getting lots of protein. I don’t know if your brain just exploded but mine did. My go-to pasta meal is a pesto sauce with sautéed red onion, broccoli, and bell peppers.

Beans

Beans are good fillers and a necessary component for a high protein diet. Different types of beans are chickpeas, kidney, black, and lima beans. I love making bean salads, stews, or Mexican-style dinners. They are also a cheap item on your grocery list. The leftovers from a good bean meal should last you for a few lunches throughout the week.

Soy products

Soy products are great for allowing people who are non-meat eaters to feel more socially acceptable and relatable to others. These products have a large range of vegetarian options. For example, there is soy sausages, burgers,  and soy “ground round,” which resembles the texture of ground beef. From these products you can make a variety of meals including veggie shepherd’s pie, chilli, and lasagna.

Snacks

Some easy to make snacks are hummus and vegetables. Also, nuts like almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are a great portable snack that you can munch on in class. My go to studying snack is homemade popcorn trail mix. This consists of cheap popcorn kernels that create a filler and extends your nuts and seeds shelf time. Then I add cranberries, dark chocolate chips, almonds, pumpkin seeds and cashews. If you carry that around in a mason jar, people around you will go nuts for your nuts!

Some general tips for any meals:

  1. An important idea to note about your carb to protein consumption is to always have an equal carb and protein ratio.
  2. The combination of fat and protein results in high energy. Some examples of fats are avocados, tomatoes, olive oil, olives, nuts, and hummus. Cheese is a great source of fat if you eat dairy.
  3. Always make enough food so you will have leftovers. Help yourself out for the next day and make a little more food the night before.
  4. Finally, keep a conscious mind for anything you eat and always listen to your body!

I hope you can take away some valuable tips to enjoy your food while cutting down on your meat intake, and of course staying energized!