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Beans, lentils, seeds and nuts are all packed with filling protein. While these foods make excellent meat substitutes, be mindful of portion sizes to ensure you’re getting equivalent amounts of protein to meet your daily intake. For women, the daily requirement is about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, so the average woman requires 50 to 60 grams a day. Four ounces of chicken, for example, packs about 36 grams of protein, but you can easily swap that out for 2 cups of lentils, beans or organic tofu (a 1/2-cup serving of each is equivalent to about 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish). Nuts and seeds are other great sources – a 1/4 cup contains 4 to 7 grams of protein. To fulfill your daily protein quota, eat about 2 cups of lentils, beans or tofu and two handfuls of nuts or seeds daily. To work it into your meals, try adding beans to soups, or top salads or oatmeal with sunflower seeds. Plus, not only are these vegetarian options cheaper, but they’re also chock-full of the vitamins and antioxidants that are lacking in meat.
For recommendations on protein powders, see The Cleanest Protein Powders.
Registered dietitians Tiffani Bachus and Erin Macdonald are the co-founders and creators of URockGirl.com, a website dedicated to promoting wellness and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.