Found in staples like meat, eggs and legumes such as beans and lentils, protein helps build and repair muscle and tissue. The amount of protein you need varies from person to person, but the Canada Food Guide recommends that it makes up about one quarter of every meal and snack.
Here’s how to get protein into every meal of the day – without relying on meat.
1. Go Greek
Thick and creamy Greek (or Balkan or Scandinavian style) yogurt typically has more protein than the average tub of traditional yogurt. It’s a great way to pack some staying power into breakfast. And there are plenty of vegan varieties if you’re dairy-free or lactose intolerant. Just avoid super-high fat content or extra sugar and additives whatever you choose. Top it with fresh fruit and granola or muesli cereal for a complete meal, or use it in potato salads, dips and baked goods instead of mayo or oil to sneak in extra protein and reduce fat without losing out on taste or texture.
2. Roast chickpeas
Stick a sheet pan of drained and rinsed chickpeas in the oven at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Give them a stir about halfway through and you’ll find they come out deliciously crispy. Use them to make summer salads a little more filling or snack on them by the handful. They are a naturally protein- and fibre-rich way to stop hunger pangs from striking. Before roasting, coat them in a teaspoon of oil and your favourite spices and herbs – maybe paprika and garlic salt or simply salt and pepper – so they pack a punch of satisfying flavour too.
3. Level up your bread
Adding peanut butter, cream cheese or a sliced egg to your toast is classic. But if you prefer plain buttered toast for breakfast, or want a meat-free way to add oomph to sandwiches, sprouted grain bread can be a great way to pack in natural protein without nut butter, dairy or eggs. Silver Hills Bakery’s Big 16 sprouted grain bread, for example, has 12 grams of plant-based protein to help keep your energy and focus steady throughout the day. Sprouting the grains makes more fibre and vitamins easily available to your body.