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As a self-proclaimed flexitarian, I like to make a conscious effort to eat less meat.

The undeniable health benefits of limiting meat consumption include reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, all while improving the nutritive value of your diet.

The environmental benefits are even more astounding considering that 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef, and the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the worlds climate altering greenhouse gas emissions. 

These 5 meat alternatives will satisfy even the most voracious protein-eaters.

1. Beans

A protein rich superfood with tons of varieties to go with any meal. Some of the most popular varieties, black and kidney beans contain 15g of protein per cup, along with fiber, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and iron. A Fit University favorite is this black bean and quinoa burger recipe.

2. Beyond Meat

These products really do live up to their motto “the future of protein”. They mirror the texture and flavor profile of meat while packing in just as much protein as real chicken breast or a burger.

If you’re apprehensive about trying a meat substitute, Beyond Meat is in my opinion the most meat-like and tastiest product on the market. Their grilled strips cook in a pan in less than 5 minutes and are a great salad topper for a quick lunch. 

 

A photo posted by Beyond Meat (@beyondmeat) on

3. Greek Yogurt

A delicious and refreshing meal that is completely customizable with an average 20g protein per cup. Choosing plain greek yogurt and flavoring it with vanilla extract, cinnamon, peanut butter, stevia, and fruit are great ways to avoid all the added sugar in flavored greek yogurts.

My favorite brands are Siggi’s and Wallaby Organic because their cows are 100% grass-fed. 

 

A photo posted by N A N C Y CH E N (@approachingpaleo) on

4. Bone Broth

Packs a whopping 10g of protein per cup and is one of the most nutrient dense and easy to digest foods you can consume. The extensive health benefits of bone broth include boosting immune health, protecting joints, healing a leaky gut, and supporting a healthy metabolism. 

My favorite way to consume it is to sautΓ© veggies like zucchini, carrots, and garlic in the broth for a protein-rich soup.

5. Nuts and Seeds

Pumpkin seeds and chia seeds contain 3g of protein per tablespoon, making them perfect protein packed snacks. They also make great yogurt and oatmeal toppings. Nut medleys and nut butters contain on average 5g of protein per tablespoon, and with their rich flavor and high fiber and fat content it’s no wonder most of us have a mild (or in my case severe) obsession with our nut butter of choice. 

As an NPC Figure competitor I can’t skimp on protein content, but thankfully there are plenty of high-protein meat alternatives to satisfy my flexitarian needs. If you’re thinking about eating less meat for your health, for the environment, or just for some more variety any of these 5 alternative proteins is a great place to start! 

 

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Author Serena Baldwin

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