How to Pack In Your Protein as a Vegetarian
Many people seem to be opting for plant-based diets and eliminating red meat and poultry from their diets. What’s the deal with going plant-based or becoming a vegetarian, you might ask?
Some people become vegetarian for health, religious, or personal reasons. While some are concerned about whether a plant-based diet provides enough protein, there are actually many different nutrient-rich protein sources of food for vegetarians.
Breaking Down Vegetarian Protein Sources
Adopting a vegetarian diet means getting creative with how you consume your protein.
Before we explore vegetarian protein sources, it is important to consider the dietary recommendations for how much protein the average adult needs. As a rule of thumb, the average adult should have 0.8 grams of protein per kilograms (roughly per 2.2 pounds) of body weight daily. For example, for a person who weighs 150 lbs, or 68 Kilograms, the recommended amount of protein per day is about 54 grams.
Vegetarian Protein Options
Meeting your protein requirements as a vegetarian can be made easy if you know which foods to look out for. Here is a list of some examples:
- Lentils. Lentils have plenty of nutrients, protein, and fiber. A cup of cooked lentils can have up to 18 grams of protein. You can add this legume to your dinner routine.
- Greek yogurt has 23 grams of protein per cup. Incorporating this protein-rich snack to your daily meal planning can help meet your dietary needs.
- Eggs. One large boiled egg contains 6 grams of protein. You can have eggs for breakfast, in an egg or potato salad for lunch, or even as a side dish during dinner.
- Beans. Beans, such as chickpeas, are another excellent source of protein and fiber. A cup of cooked chickpeas has about 15 grams of protein.
- Quinoa. This healthy grain has about 8 grams of protein per cup. Quinoa can be added to your salad, a soup, or even as a base dish.
- Oats have many health benefits, including having high fiber and antioxidants. One cup of oats contains about 26 grams of protein.
- Edamame. One cup of edamame contains 18 grams of protein. Edamame can be lightly boiled or steamed for a delicious snack.
- Nutritional yeast can be a source of complete protein, as it contains 8 grams of protein per half ounce. It has a cheesy flavor and is often substituted for vegan cheese products.
- Green peas have 8 grams of protein per cup. In addition to being a good source of plant-based protein, peas are also packed with Vitamin C, E, and zinc. This is a food found to boost your immune system.
- Peanut butter lovers may love this one. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 8 grams of protein. You can add peanut butter to a smoothie, make a sandwich, or simply eat it from the jar (if that’s your thing).
- Hemp seeds are rich in magnesium and high in fiber and nutrients. Research shows that hemp seeds can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. One tablespoon of hemp seeds has 4 grams of protein.
- Almonds. One handful of almonds has about 6 grams of protein. Almonds have fiber, calcium, and antioxidants. You can top almonds on any snack.
Meals that are High in Vegetarian Protein
There is a common concern surrounding protein intake for vegetarians. However, you can incorporate many plant-based proteins into your meals. This would only require a bit of planning on your end to meet your dietary goals.
To maximize your protein intake, try having a variety of high-protein foods throughout the day. This way, you can enjoy your vegetarian lifestyle without worrying about whether you are lacking any nutrients.
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