What to eat during ”meatless-monday”?

When I became a vegetarian I thought all there was to eat was tofu to get the protein I needed. And I hated tofu.
But I was wrong.
All of this ”meatless-monday” might be something for you too if you know what your options are. Because let’s face it, isn’t ”what are we/I having for dinner tonight?” the most frequently asked question ever? 
There are so many different types of protein sources out there, and I’m gonna give you a few good ones that I use:

Contains per 100g:

Eggs
Energy 587 kJ
Protein 12.7 g
Fat 9.9 g
Calcium 38 mg
Iron 1.53 mg
Magnesium 10 mg
Potassium 114 mg
Sodium 134 mg
Zinc 1.12 mg
Total folates 78 ug
Cholesterol 477 mg

Quinoa
Energy 120 kcal
Protein 4.4 g
Fat 1.9 g
Dietary fibre 2.8 g
Calcium 17 mg
Iron 1.49 mg
Magnesium 64 mg
Potassium 172 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Zinc 1.09 mg
Total folates 42 ug
Cholesterol 0

Seeds/nuts
Walnuts
Energy 2904 kJ
Protein 14.4 g
Fat 69.2 g
Dietary fibre 6.4 g
Calcium 89 mg
Iron 2.5 mg
Magnesium 150 mg
Potassium 440 mg
Sodium 3 mg
Zinc 2.53 mg
Total folates 70 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Almonds
Energy 2503 kJ
Protein 19.5 g
Fat 54.7 g
Dietary fibre 8.8 g
Calcium 250mg
Iron 1.53 mg
Magnesium 260 mg
Potassium 740 mg
Sodium 134 mg
zinc 3.69 mg
total folates 29 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Pumpkin seeds
Energy 2416 kJ
Protein 24.4 g
Fat 45.6 g
Dietary fibre 10.2 g
Calcium 43 mg
Iron 10 mg
Magnesium 535 mg
Potassium 820 mg
Sodium 20 mg
Zinc 7.46 mg
Total folates 58 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Nut butters 
Tahini
Energy 2717 kJ
Protein 20.4 g
Fat 60.7 g
Dietary fibre 13.5 g
Calcium 330 mg
Iron 5.1 mg
Magnesium 320 mg
Potassium 190 mg
Sodium 79 mg
Zinc 5.53 mg,
Total folates 99 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Peanut butter, no added sugar or salt
Energy 2634 kJ
Protein 24.3 g
Fat 54.3 g
Dietary fibre 6.5 g
Calcium 55 mg
Iron 1.77 mg
Magnesium 165 mg
Potassium 608 mg
Sodium 25 mg
Zinc 2.77 mg
Total folate 155 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Quorn mince
Energy 441 kJ
Protein 14.5 g
Fat 2.0 g
Dietary fibre 5.5 g
Calcium 30 mg
Iron 0.2 mg
Potassium 204 mg
Sodium 0.1 g
Zinc 6.75 mg
Total folates ?
Cholesterol 0 mg

Tempeh
Energy 1875
protein 23.2 g,
fat 33.8 g
Dietary fibre 2.9 g
Calcium 74 mg
Iron 9.2 mg
Magnesium 115 mg
Potassium 542 mg
Sodium 955 mg
Zinc 1.7 mg
Total folates o mg
Cholesterol o mg

Legumes
Chickpeas
Energy 449 kJ
Protein 6.3 g
Fat 2.1g
Dietary fibre 4.7 g
Calcium 45 mg
Magnesium 27 mg
Iron 1.8 mg
Potassium 140 mg
Sodium 250 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Total folates 63 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

Lentils
Energy 1198 kJ
Protein 24.2 g
Fat 2 g
Dietary fibre 13.7 g
Calcium 73 mg
Magnesium 82 mg
Iron 7.5 mg
Potassium 840 mg
Sodium 5 mg
Zinc 3 mg
Total folates 11 ug
Cholesterol 0 mg

When being a vegetarian/vegan there is multiple protein sources that also offers a lot of nutrients that meat/meat products won’t do.
You might think that there is a lot of energy per 100g with these examples I have given above – so let’s compare it to beef mince, 100 g, just to look at the difference:
Energy 942 kJ
Protein 27.4 g
Fat 12.9 g
Dietary fibre 0 g
Calcium 5 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Iron 2.28
Potassium 359 mg
Sodium 60 mg
Zinc 5.35 mg
Total folates 12 ug
Cholesterol ~100 mg

Obviously there is more energy in nut/nut butters because they are predominantly fat, but they also contain protein. And the difference is that these fats in the nut/nut butters are predominantly mono and polyunsaturated fats, which are the ones we want in our diet!
The key is to eat a variety of food.

One thing that plant sources do not contain is cholesterol, which meat/meat products do. There is also a lot of potassium in veggies and this is good because it take part in many important actions in the body, such as muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmission. It also seems to play a major role in lowering high blood pressure. Plant sources also contain our all time favorite dietary fibre. There is none of this in the beef mince, and this is needed for a full functional bowel.
Another thing that is also important to look at is what sources you eat that contains folate, especially if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, as this is crucial for the baby to prevent neural tube defects.

When comparing pumpkin seeds to eggs you can see that the pumpkin seeds contain a lot more protein per 100 g, but they also contain four times as much energy.
The mineral zinc is very low in these sources, that is because you get them predominantly from seafood. But you can still get it into your system by eating a variety of foods.

I want you think of it as more than just protein, fat and carbohydrates. Are you eating the same type of food? Are you getting all the nutrients your body need? Can you maybe try three new veggies this week?
When you look at broccoli you might only think ”green veggie”, but I think water, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, dietary fibre, folate, biotin, vitamin C.

I don’t want you to go out there and eat 100 g of peanut butter, because that is a lot of energy, but when you think of the tiny things they contain it makes sense that they are feeding your body.
And you might think: 100 g, that is a lot. But a lot of people have no difficulties eating 150 g steak, when they can cut it down to half and eat heaps of other sources that also provide the body with protein plus a hell of a lot other goodies!

Use this as a templet if you want to try cutting down on meat. There is so many more protein sources, but with these it might get you started.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!
And I’ve got a question for you – you might see that I’ve put some ”?” in the templet, that is just because I couldn’t find a credible source for that nutrient. So if you know, will you maybe help me out?