So what counts as a vegetarian alternative? That really depends on how strict of a vegetarian you are. Some vegetarians still eat eggs or dairy so things like eggs, cheese and high protein yogurts can help add protein to their meal.
For example you might add some chopped eggs on your salad or make a vegetable and cheese omelet.
Other vegetarians are more strict in their food choices and might choose to eliminate all meat products. This would be a vegan diet. All vegan foods would still be appropriate for a vegetarian but all vegetarian foods are not necessarily okay for vegans.
So some of the protein options in this case might include legumes like chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils. It might also include soy products like textured vegetable protein (TVP), tofu or soybeans. Nuts and seeds can provide some protein but they are higher in fat so they should be included with a variety of other protein choices.
There are also a surprising number of grains and vegetables that can provide protein. For example green peas, asparagus, spinach, corn and broccoli all provide at least a little protein. You will need to add in some more protein rich options to get enough protein for the day though. When it comes to grains quinoa, barley, amaranth and spelt all offer some protein. You can also boost your protein using specific parts of grains like the bran or germ. So things like wheat germ and oat bran can be added to smoothies not just for their fiber but their protein benefits too!
You might not be feeling too confident to use some of these ingredients but don't worry, there are lots of great websites and cookbooks out there to help you. For example if you want to explore cooking with beans more www.pulsecanada.com is a great website to check out. It's from the legume growers of Canada and there is a great recipe database right on the front page. There are also a number of vegetarian friendly recipes on my own site.
If you want a more hands on experience you can come hang out with me at the Mustard Seed Coop in Hamilton. I will be hosting a workshop showing examples of what a day eating as a vegetarian might look like. We will cook a delicious and healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner together that will keep you feeling great all day!
The event is happening Sunday May 3rd from 12-2pm. Tickets can be purchased HERE. Hope to see you out!