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This post is sponsored by Ka’Chava, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.

10 Ways to Incorporate More Protein Into Your Diet Without Eating Meat

protein rich foods without meat"
protein rich foods without meat
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

To put it simply, I love carbs. Like a lot. Bread and pasta probably make up about 90 percent of my diet, which is why one of my New Year’s resolutions is to increase my protein intake. Aside from wanting to eat more well-balanced meals and fewer girl dinners, tons of benefits come from including more protein in your diet. Research shows that diets higher in protein increase muscle mass, promote bone health, boost your metabolism, and so much more. Adding more protein to your diet can be easier said than done, though, especially if you’re a vegan or vegetarian or just straight up sick of eating chicken (*raises hand*). If you’re looking for easy ways to increase your protein intake, read on for 10 simple suggestions on how to get protein without meat.

1. Opt for a protein powder that checks all of your boxes

Whether you’re going meatless or are suddenly getting the ick from chicken (guilty as charged), bringing a protein powder onto the scene is a super simple and reliable way to make sure you’re hitting your protein goals. When it comes to supplements, adding one to an already busy wellness regimen can be quite daunting whether you’re short on time, space, or….appetite. Ditch your cluttered nutrient cabinet and swap in Ka’Chava: the do-it-all superfood powder that offers protein—and so much more.

Besides having an impressive 25 grams of protein per serving, Ka’Chava has more than 85 different superfoods, nutrients, and plant-based ingredients that deliver crucial antioxidants, adaptogens, probiotics, prebiotic fiber, and more. Along with all of the benefits that hitting your protein goals has to offer, all of Ka’Chava’s nutrients work together to support whole-body health, including your immune system, energy, mind, digestion, muscle, weight, heart, joints and bones, and hair, skin, and nails. It’s truly a one-stop shop for full-body wellness and because it’s 100 percent vegan (bye-bye whey-induced bloating), gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, it’s a perfect option suited for everyone’s dietary needs.

As wellness girlies who have choked back sea moss in the name of wellness, we nearly bow down to options that taste delicious and the Ka’Chava flavors are more than just tolerable—they’re truly delicious, versatile, and the ultimate treat-yourself moment. Think smoothies, smoothie bowls, protein pancakes, or even a shaker bottle on the go—you can incorporate it into your meal plan in whatever way your heart desires. While trying to hit your protein goals on a meatless diet might be the reason you try it out, you’ll keep it around for everything else it does, too.

Superfood Blend

Every Ka’Chava shake offers 100 percent plant-based protein and whole-body benefits in a variety of flavors that will keep you coming back day after day. Between their Everygirl-approved Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Acai, Chai, and Matcha flavors, you truly can’t go wrong. Shop now to get 10 percent off your first order!

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2. Swap white rice for wild rice

If you’re only eating white rice as a side, you’re missing out on extra protein and nutrients. Unlike white rice, wild rice doesn’t have its bran removed, making it dense in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. According to the USDA, 1 cup of white rice only has about 4 grams of protein, whereas wild rice has 24 grams. This simple swap can make all the difference in hitting your protein goals for the day. 

3. Add cottage cheese to recipes

If you’ve scrolled through TikTok lately, you’ve likely seen chefs like Meredith Hayden from Wishbone Kitchen enjoying cottage cheese. Some TikTokers are having it as a snack alongside fruits and veggies, while others are adding it to recipes to pack an additional protein punch. Cottage cheese can easily be blended into soups or pasta sauces, making those meals more nutritious. 

4. Have nuts as a snack

To (kind of) quote Regina George, “Is peanut butter a carb?” It’s not. But it is full of protein and healthy fats. That’s why nuts like peanuts, almonds, and pistachios make such a great snack—they’re full of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Enjoy them alongside some cheese and an apple for a well-balanced snack that will keep you full all afternoon. 

5. Sprinkle in some nutritional yeast

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to add protein to your everyday snacks and meals without having to give it much thought, consider topping them with nutritional yeast. Because of its cheesy flavor, it’s especially good on popcorn, pasta, or added to sauces or soups. 

Source: @samson-katt | Pexels

6. Eat more legumes

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you already know how important beans and lentils are as part of your diet. Beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cup, not to mention nutrients like fiber, iron, and potassium. Similarly, lentils have 18 grams of protein and have been found to promote a healthy gut

7. Add egg whites to your egg breakfasts

Adding additional egg whites into your eggs for breakfast is definitely not a new concept, but it’s a tried and true protein staple for good reason. Egg whites contain much more protein than the egg yolk, so incorporating more whites is a super simple way to meet your protein goals—especially if you already enjoy eating eggs for breakfast. And not only are they a great source of protein, but studies show that they also contain essential amino acids and can aid in muscle health. And of course, because they’re full of protein, they also keep you feeling fuller longer. 

8. Make yourself a parfait

If you’re more of a sweet than savory person (like me), I’ve got good news for you: Yogurt is protein-packed. Opt for higher protein varieties like Greek yogurt or Icelandic yogurt (AKA skyr) since they typically have around 15-20 grams of protein, making them a great option for breakfast or a snack. Want to make it a more balanced meal? Add berries and granola for additional micro and macronutrients. 

9. Add spirulina to your drinks

Take a trip to your local smoothie shop, and you’ll probably see spirulina on the menu. Why? Research shows this blue-green-colored algae contains both protein and micronutrients that the body needs. Two tablespoons of spirulina contain 8 grams of protein as well as high amounts of magnesium and potassium. Simply blend the ingredient into your morning smoothie, matcha green tea, or lemony cocktail for an added boost of protein. 

10. Try a meat substitute

While meat substitutes often get a bad rap for their taste and texture or are relegated as something only vegans and vegetarians enjoy, they’re a great option for someone who wants to increase their protein intake without eating more meat. Tofu, tempeh, and seitan are common plant-based meat alternatives that can easily be seasoned to take on the flavors of any meat-centered dish. Just be aware of sodium content and additives like sugars and artificial coloring in meat substitutes—try plain, organic tofu or tempeh rather than “burgers” or “nuggets” that are typically highly processed.

This post is sponsored by Ka’Chava, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.