Protein is part of every cell, tissue and organ in our bodies. It is a vital nutrient needed to grow healthy hair, build muscle, maintain ligament and other tissue health. Proteins are constantly being broken down and replaced, so it is important to replenish your body with this nutrient. Excellent sources of protein can be found in meat, poultry and fish — but for a vegetarian, those aren’t options.

However, many protein-rich options are animal-friendly. Some delicious alternatives are:  grains, soy-based products, legumes, vegetables and fruits. For the best source of healthy protein, try to eat foods that are raw, unprocessed, and unrefined. Women’s Fitness offers a list of options that will keep you from getting bored with your meals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists a helpful table that recommends how much protein you should be getting a day:

Recommended Dietary Allowance for Protein
Grams of protein
needed each day
Children ages 1 – 3 13
Children ages 4 – 8 19
Children ages 9 – 13 34
Girls ages 14 – 18 46
Boys ages 14 – 18 52
Women ages 19 – 70+ 46
Men ages 19 – 70+ 56

Food.com offers a recipe for Curried Yellow Split Pea Soup with Spinach:

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Serves: 6-8

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups dried split yellow peas
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add ginger, cumin, curry powder, turmeric, coriander and cayenne. Cook, stirring 1 minute to toast the spices.
  3. Add yellow split peas and 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until split peas are soft, about 45 minutes.
  5. Add spinach and salt. Cook until spinach wilts, about 1-2 minutes. Soup will thicken upon standing. Add additional water to thin.

I’m going to be trying this recipe tonight and I will be sure to do a follow-up post with how it turned out. I’ll most likely be adding some celery, and potato for a little extra something.

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