Maintaining Muscle Mass without Meat

Eating a balanced diet provides the vitamins and minerals, which will help improve metabolism, build and repair muscle tissue, protect and repair damaged tissues and enhance immune function. Certain foods like lean meats and leafy greens are particularly important because they provide iron, which carries oxygen to the muscles.

Of course, protein is the most well-known resource for muscle maintenance, building and repair. That said, no serious workout should begin or end with a thick juicy steak. There are plenty of sources of protein that won’t weigh you down while you build yourself up. Here are some options to consider:

Beans and rice: Combine beans and rice (particularly the brown kind) and you get a sure shot of protein without the saturated fats contained in many meats. Wrap them in a burrito, serve them on salads or stir them into soups.

Tofu: This versatile soy product is great for breakfast lunch and dinner. Puree soft tofu into smoothies, marinate firm tofu and sear it for a stir fry, or grill extra firm tofu and serve with a salsa topper.

Quinoa: The most complete non-animal protein, quinoa packs all of the essential amino acids into every grain. Sprinkle it over vegetables, toss it with your favorite vinaigrette or bake it into your favorite muffin mix. Either way you’re sure to give your muscles the attention they deserve.

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