Yes, meat and poultry are great sources of protein. However, they offer just a glimpse of where you can get protein from.
In fact, protein comes in many forms. From fish and eggs to legumes and soy-based foods, the list of protein options available to you is a long one.
Here are 8 of the most popular alternative protein sources for those steering clear of meat and poultry.
While all fish are fabulous protein sources, there are a handful that pack a serious protein punch.
At the top of the list is salmon. Not only does this fish deliver 38 grams of protein per every 6 ounce portion, but it is loaded with healthy fats, minerals and vitamins.
And best of all, salmon is widely available and incredibly versatile. You can grill it, bake it, saute it -- the options are endless.
Egg whites are known for their high quality protein. And like the majority of animal foods, they contain all amino acids -- making them an optimal protein source.
On top of their high protein content, egg whites are low in calories.
And if that isn’t impressive enough, 91% of egg whites’ nutritional content is protein.
Tofu is made from soybeans, and is a go-to protein source for vegetarians and vegans alike.
Created for the first time more than 2,000 years ago in China, tofu has since made its way to plates around the globe -- and for good reason.
Tofu is a phenomenal plant-based source of protein. It packs 8 grams of protein per 100 gram serving, and contains all essential amino acids.
Tempeh, like tofu, is a protein packed soy-based food. However, unlike tofu, tempeh is created through a fermentation process. This process is what lends this common meat alternative its superior nutritional composition.
A 3 ounce serving of tempeh delivers 6 grams of proteins, in addition to calcium, iron, and magnesium, amongst several other essential vitamins and minerals.
Edamame may be your go-to appetizer at your favorite sushi spot. However, this bean does a whole lot more than taste good.
With just 1 cup of edamame containing 14 grams of protein (including all essential amino acids), and loads of fiber, folate and vitamin K, you can’t go wrong when this bean meets your plate.
Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are an excellent source of protein -- as are most members of the legume family.
Every ounce of chickpeas offers 3 grams of protein, making it the perfect addition to any grain bowl or salad.
You can enjoy them raw, sauté them for an added crunch, or even add them to your favorite soup for a sneaky protein boost.
Quinoa & Lentils
Quinoa and lentils are superior sources of protein. While one is a grain and the other is a legume, they can be used nearly interchangeably as you seek to add more protein to your diet.
Both quinoa and lentils make a tasty base to any veggie bowl. They also compliment just about any salad -- adding protein and texture to every bite.
Hempseed & Spirulina
Hempseed and spirulina are the plant-based protein underdogs.
While hempseed contains 10 grams of complete protein per ounce, spirulina offers up 4 grams of protein per tablespoon.
As two nutritional powerhouses containing all essential amino acids, there’s no question as to why these foods have found their way into the highest quality vegan protein powder on the market.
Nourish Vegan Protein Powder by Leverage Nutrition contains both hemp protein and spirulina. It is enriched by a number of other plant-based protein sources, making it the perfect match for anyone looking to increase strength, gain muscle and lose body fat.
Available in chocolate and vanilla, you can shake up a number of protein smoothies that are as protein packed as they are tasty.