The season of Lent brings a challenge for those of us who choose to abstain from eating meat. Where do you get the necessary protein in your diet if not from the usual chicken and beef?
Fortunately, there are plenty of substitutes out there, as well as a chance to introduce healthier protein alternatives to your regular meal rotation. Side note: Decreasing your red meat and processed meat consumption can also decrease your risk of certain types of cancers and is good for your heart health, too.
Here are some recipes to try throughout Lent:
Behold, the Bean
Pick a variety — any variety — of beans. Just half a cup offers up to 9 grams of protein plus just as many grams of fiber to keep you full for longer.
- Tuscan white bean and kale soup
- Red beans and rice (an American Heart Association-approved take on the Southern classic)
- Black bean burgers
- Hearty lentil stew
Bring on the Grains
Grains aren’t just carbs. Avoid plain white rice and go for whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and oats to pack extra protein and whole-grain nutrients into your meal.
- Savory oatmeal bowls with sweet potatoes and eggs
- Thai-style quinoa salad
- Toasted brown rice with mushrooms
- Zucchini and quinoa fritters
Add Seeds and Nuts
Snacks like nut butters and trail mix can give you a protein boost throughout the day, but there are other ways to incorporate seeds and nuts into your meals.
- Homemade seed crackers to serve with soups
- Healthy granola to top your morning yogurt
- Spicy pumpkin seeds to sprinkle on soups and salads
It’s surprisingly easy to work with tofu, and it takes on flavors well. Plus, it’s loaded with around 8 grams of protein for each 3.5-ounce serving. Just check the labels in the grocery store for the fewest ingredients possible.
- Tofu stir fry with spinach, rice and green onions
- Crispy air fryer tofu that’s great for dipping
- Veggie lo mein with tofu
Don’t Forget Dairy
With eggs, you’ll get plenty of protein as well as vitamin D and omega fatty acids. Dairy products like Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are packed with around 13 (!!!) grams of protein per serving.