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10 Meat Free Sources of Protein

09/06/2014 15:04 BST | Updated 09/08/2014 10:59 BST

You've decided to go meatfree (even just for an evening). Here are some protein rich foods that can replace your forsaken steak...

  • Fish
  • Steamed, poached or grilled salmon provide the best source of complete protein in the fish category. With 33.8 grams of protein in an adult portion of salmon (140 grams) this provides just under 75% of an adults daily protein needs. Half a can of tuna in brine provides nearly 50% of an adults daily needs while prawns provide 22.6 grams of protein in a 100 gram size portion.

    Fish is easy to cook, easily digested and can be incorporated into many snacks, main meals, breakfast and supper dishes. This is a super easy non meat protein source.

    Recipe: Fish with Butter Bean, Chorizo and Tomato Cassoulet.

  • Eggs
  • Eggs are a good source of complete protein and because there are many ways eggs can be used in cooking. Each egg is worth 6.3 grams of protein and the good news is that there is no limit per week on the number of eggs that can be consumed.

    Poached, boiled, scrambled, quiches, omelettes, frittatas, sandwiches and even in pancakes are all manageable ways to incorporate egg protein into your diet.

    Recipe: Leek and Cheese Quiche.

  • Cottage Cheese
  • All cheeses are good sources of complete proteins, however cottage cheese does not contain the huge amount of fat other cheeses like cheddar contain. A 50 gram portion of cottage cheese contains 6.3% protein. Low fat cheese (without added sugar) contains 16.4 grams of protein in a 50grm portion. While this is an excellent source of protein, it contains nearly the same amount of fat.

    Cottage cheese is delicious served with salads, legumes or on a slice of wheaten bread. And if you don't care too much for cottage cheese, try Greek yoghurt, which provides 15 grams of protein per 15 gram pot.

    Recipe: Five Bean Cottage Cheese Salad.

  • Soya Milk and Soya Products
  • A cup of Soya milk contains 8 grams of 'complete' protein. Pour it on top of the morning cereal, or in your tea or coffee to add valuable proteins to your daily needs. Soya milk is made from soybeans which has been soaked, finely ground, and finally strained. Other soya products having good protein contents include Edamame which is the soya bean gathered whilst green and served as a side dish or as a supper dish. Tofu is rich in high-quality protein, B vitamins, and is low in sodium and is easily incorporated in the diet in stir fries, salads and snacks.

    Recipe: Crispy Blackened Tofu with Courgette Crisps

  • Quinoa
  • A seed, originating from the Andes, made popular over the last few years because of its nutritional value. Unlike other plant proteins (except the soya bean) it is a complete protein. Every serving of 180 grams cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein. Serve instead of mashed potatoes, pasta or rice or as a salad with loads of finely diced salad ingredients. So easy to cook.

    Recipe: Sweet and Sour, Green Bean Stir Fry with Quinoa.

  • Chickpeas
  • One of my favourite legumes of all time. Each 100 grams serving contains 8.4 grams proteins. Easily incorporated in falafels, vegetarian burgers and curries to name but a few recipes. Dried chickpeas, reconstituted at home is best because of the lower sodium content, however canned chickpeas, rinsed in cold water is more than a valuable source of meatless protein. And as mentioned before a portion of baked beans on toast for lunch provides a good serving of protein.

    Recipe: Nacho Roasted Chickpeas.

  • Lentils
  • Lentils sprinkled into soups, broths, added to nut loaves and made into vegetarian burgers is another easy way to add meatless protein to the diet. An individual serving of lentils provide 8.7 grams of protein. Lentils absorb flavours easily and should be used in every kitchen. Served with a portion of quinoa, it doubles the amount of proteins consumed in a single meal.

    Recipe: Rotini Pasta with Lentil & Tomato Sauce.

  • Brown Bread
  • Surprisingly because of the many slices of bread eaten every day, bread makes a good source of meatless protein. Brown wholegrain bread is best because it fills you for longer, which means you tend less to 'graze' during the day.

    Two slices of bread as in a sandwich provides 8.8 grams protein, served with a complementary filling of tuna and corn adds an extra 30% towards the total protein needs for the day.

    Recipe: Brown Soda Bread.

  • Oatmeal
  • Oatmeal served on its own for breakfast, or in oat bars or as a crumble topping for a fruit compote is always a good choice for additional protein. Easily cooked, easily available and versatile, oatmeal should be a store cupboard item in every kitchen. Opt if possible for the dry rolled or porridge oats, which will provide 6.75 grams of protein in a 40 gram serving. Quick oats will give you approximately 5.5 grams whilst the instant oats provides approximately 4.75 grams from the same size portion. The advantage of rolled oats is of course the fibre content which is missing or lacking in the other two types.

    Recipe: Rhubarb & Ginger Oaty Crumble

  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Almonds, walnuts, peanuts (including peanut butter) and pumpkin seeds are good sources of protein. Snacking on any one, adds between 4 -7 grams of protein. Adding to breakfast cereals, yoghurts and cakes, complements other proteins such as the wheat and are excellent ways of making sure every member of the family gets their quota of protein every day.

    Recipe: Waldorf Salad - Modern Style