Protein is a key nutrient for growing and maintaining muscles and keeping your skin and hair strong and healthy. It also helps keep you full. Even though people wonder where vegetarians get their protein, it isn’t hard to meet the required amount on a vegetarian diet.
According to the Dietary Guidelines, women need 46 grams of protein and men need 56 grams of protein (but this does vary depending on your activity level, age and more).
Karina Dmytrenko, a fitness expert and a personal training coach in Dubai tells us about different high-protein vegetarian foods which can easily complete our protein requirements on a vegetarian diet.
Greek yogurt has 23 grams of protein per cup. Greek yogurt is delicious when added to smoothies, layered with fruit and granola as a parfait and used as a sour cream substitute on tacos or in dips. It also delivers calcium and gut-healthy probiotics. Choose plain yogurt over flavoured varieties to save from added sugar.
Lentils, 9 grams of protein per 1/2 cup (cooked). Lentils are a protein powerhouse stuffed into a tiny package. Not only do they deliver vegan protein, a 1/2 cup of cooked lentils gives you 8 grams of fiber. Fiber is good for your heart, helps keep you full and can keep your weight in check.
Chia seeds contains 3 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon. They deliver protein, fiber and omega-3s. You can blend them into smoothies, make chia-seed jam for toast and bake with them.
Quinoa contains 8 grams of protein per cup (cooked). Quinoa is unique among plant proteins because it contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein (something most plant-based proteins aren’t). One cup of cooked quinoa also has 5 grams of fiber. Quinoa is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, thiamine and folate. And as an added bonus for those with celiac disease or any gluten sensitivity, quinoa is gluten-free.
Cottage cheese contains 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Cottage cheese is a little higher in sodium than Greek yogurt, so keep that in mind if you’re watching your salt intake. It works well as a savory dip or try it sweetened up with fruit.
Hemp seeds contains 4 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon. In addition to being a good source of protein, hemp seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are delicious sprinkled on smoothies and smoothie bowls or oatmeal.
Beans (chickpeas, black beans, etc.)
Beans (chickpeas, black beans, etc.) contain 8 grams of protein per 1/2 cup (cooked). Like lentils, beans deliver fiber, a nutrient most of us don’t get enough of. They’re also an inexpensive and easy way to add protein to dips, tacos, salads and soups. Plus, beans are a plant-based source of iron.
Edamame contains 5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (shelled). Edamame are green soybeans. You’ll find them on most sushi restaurant menus and in the freezer section at most grocery stores.
Green peas contains 8 grams of protein per cup. Most of us don’t think of peas as a protein source, but they are. Green peas are delicious as a side dish, or added to soups or salads
Peanut butter contains 7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. Peanut butter, and peanuts, are full of fiber, protein and fat. That winning combination of nutrition helps keep you full. Try peanut butter on toast, blended into smoothies or make a peanut sauce for savory dishes.
Almonds contains 6 grams of protein per ounce. Like peanuts, almonds have the super-filling trifecta of fat, fiber and protein. They’re a great vegetarian option to keep hunger at bay. Try them as almond butter, grab a handful for a snack or sprinkle them on salads for a protein boost.
Eggs contain 6 grams of protein per large egg. Eggs are more than just a breakfast food. They once had a bad reputation for being high in cholesterol but eating cholesterol doesn’t raise your cholesterol. Don’t just eat the whites, though. The yolks are also nutrient rich, delivering protein, vitamins and antioxidants.
Planning Your Meal
The key to making sure you get enough protein when not eating meat is to ensure you are eating your vegetarian protein sources at every meal and snack. Be smart about your choices, and you’ll realize that it’s not that difficult to meet your needs. Here are a few examples of high-protein foods for every meal of the day:
• Breakfast – Oatmeal, tofu scramble, whole-wheat toast with nut or seed butter, or breakfast burritos
• Lunch – Lentil salad, hummus sandwich, tofu lasagna, veggie burger, or black bean tacos•
Snack – Homemade granola bar, roasted edamame, hummus, roasted nuts or seeds, baked chickpeas•
Dinner – Chili, curry, enchiladas, stir-fry with tofu or tempeh, brown rice bowl, or daal.
For more detailed guidance, contact Karina at firstname.lastname@example.org
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