Do Vegetarians get enough protein? Here are some Vegetarian Protein Sources for vegetarians and vegans!
Protein is one of the most radically misinterpreted and misunderstood components of food. While it is important for the growth of our muscles, feeling of fullness, and weight loss, most of us simply neglect the protein component in our daily food.
When switching to a healthy diet, fitness enthusiasts often scout for all possible sources of protein to add to their diet, and this includes lean meats, fish, seafood, chicken, eggs, etc. But what about vegetarians?
When we talk about vegetarianism, one of the biggest concerns is “How do I get enough protein?”. Most people believe that vegetarians don’t stand a chance of maintaining a high-protein diet because most of the popular protein sources are, in fact, animal-based.
The myth is finally dissolving as the food industry is finally highlighting the significance of plant-based protein. If you are a vegetarian or following a vegan life, read on to find Vegetarian or Plant based Protein Sources to add to your diet!
The biggest source of vegetarian protein is in fact in your kitchen right now! Whole moong beans, masoor dal, toor dal, whole urad dal, etc are all great sources of protein and can be added to your plate with a delicious twist. With almost 20-25 grams of protein per 100 grams (raw), lentils can be used in a variety of dishes like dals, fresh salads, soups, sides, and even curries. The good fiber found in lentils promotes a healthy gut, and they also contain a hearty dose of antioxidants to keep the heart-healthy. A bowl of cooked lentils in your daily food can give a boost to your protein intake. Add some basmati rice to it, and it becomes a complete protein source too.
Rajma (kidney beans), Chhole (Chickpeas), Chawli (blackeye peas), black beans are all varieties of beans that contain a high amount of protein and fiber. With over 15 to 18 grams of protein per 100 grams (raw), beans make for an excellent addition to your lunch or dinner. Besides, beans are also known sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, and several beneficial plant compounds that help decrease cholesterol levels, manage blood sugar, and control blood pressure. Have a soft corner for rajma/chole chawal? Time to enjoy your favorite food!
One of the best vegetarian protein sources, Tofu is made of soybeans. Drawn out of simple coagulated soy milk, tofu comes in a variety of textures. 100 grams of tofu can contain upto 15 to 16 grams of protein. Wondering how to start including tofu in your diet? Well, it is simple. Tofu can be added to your salads, curries, and even rice to give it a protein boost. It’s a delicious yet powerful protein addition to your regular meals. Simply pan roast it before adding it to your recipes and you will get a soft texture. Enjoy!
With over 9 grams of protein per cooked cup, green peas are a great source of natural protein. They are high-protein, delicious, and versatile, which means you can add peas to several dishes to make your meals tasty and nutritious, both. From soups to snacks, curries, rice, and even stir fry vegetables – peas can add up to your daily protein requirements and give your diet a healthy boost. A lot of healthcare brands use green peas as a primary source of protein to manufacture Vegan protein supplements. Moreover, unlike other protein sources, green peas are easy to stock and add to your diet.
A nut can be made as a high-protein snack and a great addition to your meals to complete your daily protein count. They are versatile, on-the-go food, and a great source of plant-based protein. A handful of nuts can elevate your daily protein profile. While nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, etc contain about 4.5-7 grams of protein per serving (32 grams), peanuts are known to have the highest protein content with over 9.5 grams per serving. However, be mindful of its fat and calorie content when adding it to your daily diet.
When we think of protein, we mostly think of eggs, chicken, paneer, tofu, or vegetables. Seeds are perhaps one of the most neglected sources of protein. We toss it away the moment we spot it in any food. But the truth is seeds like flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc aren’t just protein-rich but also come with a solid nutritional profile that gives you a healthy boost. Be it in the form of roasted seeds as a snack, or just adding some raw seeds in your granola/muesli, smoothies, shakes or salad bowls – you can build up your daily protein intake by adding small amounts of seeds to your diet.
This blue algae is a nutritional powerhouse. About 2 tbsps of spirulina contains 8 grams of protein and has antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancerous properties. Furthermore, spirulina is linked to a range of health benefits that strengthen the immune system, reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Spirulina can be added to your smoothies, soups, and dals to give it a healthy twist and enjoy the nutritional boost.
Quinoa and Amaranth
These gluten-free grains contain up to 15 grams of protein per 100 grams (raw). Unlike other cereals, quinoa and amaranth aren't grown in grasses and so they are often technically called ‘pseudocereals’. Quinoa and Amaranth are also good sources of complex carbs, iron, fiber, and manganese. As they don’t have a strong taste of their own, they can easily replace rice and pasta to make your daily food protein-rich. Add cooked quinoa and amaranth to your regular salads, or just replace the rice/pasta with quinoa/quinoa pasta to make healthy and delicious meals.
Homemade cottage cheese or paneer is one of the purest sources of protein available at home. Paneer is a dairy source of protein, and hence not suitable for vegans. But 100 grams of paneer gives you up to 20 grams of protein, and so it is a perfect food to include in your daily diet to complete your daily protein requirement. Paneer is versatile and can be added to your chillas, salads, curries and even rice to make any meal high-in-protein.
The question remains, ‘do vegetarians get enough protein?’ – Yes! You can choose from a range of vegetarian (or vegan) protein sources to add to your diet and strive to live a healthy and fit life. The need is to understand from an expert on how you can fit these protein sources into your daily calorie intake requirement for your personal fitness goals.
Are you a vegetarian? Following a vegan diet? Or simply trying to reduce your consumption of meat & eggs? MSF can guide you! Our members eat a variety of sources of protein as a part of their daily diet. No wonder each day looks different for them and they are able to stay true with their diet programs. Check out our MSF Transformation Plans and start working on your fitness goals with more wholesome, tasty and palatable food options!