Suzie Q: How to THRIVE as a Vegetarian
In honor of our vegetarian theme this month, I thought I’d talk about one of the best known vegetarian topics: protein. Many times when we hear “protein” we think meat, but actually there are lots of great protein sources that don’t come from animals or animal byproducts, all of which are delicious and easy to find—many are probably already in your Home Store. Here are three categories of THRIVE foods that can help you get in your daily dose of protein if you don’t eat animal products, or even just want to add some healthy variety to your meals.
You know whole grains are healthy, but did you know they’re an awesome source of protein as well as fiber? Whole grain flours and breads, as well as brown rice and barley are full of protein. But the winner in the grain category is quinoa, which is considered a complete protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids. These grains can be eaten in place of cold cereal in the morning, and are a great way to kick your day off to a protein-filled start.
Beans are probably the most well-known source of protein besides meat and eggs. Black, red, white, kidney, pinto, or Lima beans—they’re all chock full of protein and a great base for all kinds of meals. Peas and lentils fall under this category as well, so whether you’re making soup, cold salad, or a main dish, you’ve got lots of choices to get lots of protein.
The soybean is another protein wonder food, so it’s no surprise that there are so many soy products out there. One of them that lends itself particularly well to long-term storage is TVP: Textured Vegetable Protein. TVP is made from soy flour once it’s had the soy oil extracted and then been cooked, extruded, and dried. It may sound unfamiliar to you, but you’ve probably eaten TVP before; food service, retail, and school facilities regularly use TVP products as low-cost meat extenders in their products. TVP is an economical alternative to meat that’s healthy and easy to store, since there aren’t any of the usual risks associated with storing meat. As a soy product, it’s fairly tasteless and is easy to flavor like beef, chicken, ham, bacon, sausage, or even taco or sloppy Joe. So try substituting TVP for part or all of the meat in a recipe and get the protein and taste without the meat!
What are your favorite meat-free foods or recipes that pack a protein punch? Let us know below!