When I tell people I’m a vegetarian, the typical response is, “But how do you get enough protein?!” – and the answer, really, is that I get it everywhere: vegetables, whole wheat pastas, eggs, beans, cheese, milk, yogurt.
Most vegetarians don’t have a problem fitting enough protein into their diet as long as they are varying the foods they eat. But it is difficult to find good, vegetarian sources of complete protein. A complete source of protein has all nine amino acids that our bodies need, packed together in one food item.
Before you start to worry about what you’re missing as a vegetarian, you should know that the human body is pretty amazing and combines different types of amino acids from different foods you have throughout the day, so that it’s not necessary to always have a complete protein. (Another good source of complete protein is quinoa.)
But, to make it easy on yourself, one great source of a complete protein is whey protein powder. It is high in protein (about 16-23 g per scoop) but low in fat and cholesterol. It is also what is considered a “fast” protein, meaning that it is easily soluble and easily digested, so that it is absorbed quickly for fast energy. A protein shake for breakfast can even replace your morning coffee.
The trick with protein powder is to disguise the taste – because let’s be honest, no one really likes the taste – with other ingredients. I’ve found that peanut butter covers it up nicely in shakes, and you can also put some protein powder in baked goods – get creative! Try this recipe for a Peanut Butter Banana shake.