We've all heard of vegetarians or vegans who have trouble keeping up their diet with getting enough protein a day. You don't want to fall into that category. And contrary to popular myth, it's totally possible to do.
But why exactly do we need protein?
Bodily functions and health. It keeps blood pressure under control, supports the immune system (a crucial defense against disease
Muscle building. It helps maintain muscle mass and build new cells.
Increased satiety. It improves digestive health; digests slower than fats and carbs
Regulate metabolism. It plays a vital role in hormone production - including sex hormones like testosterone and estrogen - which helps regulate metabolism and keep our bodies working properly.
If you're a vegetarian, you can still get plenty of protein. It's all about what type of vegetarian you are and how much activity and caloric intake you have.
Vegetarians who eat eggs or dairy products are more likely to get more than enough protein in their diets, granted that they keep an eye on protein intake.
As a whole, people should eat roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. (The calculations can definitely get more complicated than this!) Vegetarians who avoid meat can turn to protein-rich food sources such as soybeans and legumes.
So without a further ado, let’s delve on the list of food sources that you can choose from to get protein while on a vegetarian diet.
Serving size: 0.5 cup
Image from Spruceeats.com
Quinoa is a great substitute for rice, couscous and pasta. It's also a complete protein—meaning it provides all of the essential amino acids your body needs.
You can cook quinoa in water over low heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Fluff with fork before serving.
Serving size: 7 0z
Image from Spruce.com
A handful of edamame (pronounced “ed-uh-MAY-may”) is a great source of protein, low in fat and calories and high in fiber. It also contains vitamins B6 and E to help maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. Edamame is a good source of folate—which supports normal growth in children—and iron—a mineral that helps produce red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
Serving size: 85g
Image from Thecookist.com
Tofu is a great source of protein, calcium and iron. It's made from soybeans and can be found in many forms: soft or firm, ripe or unripe; organic, non-organic; homemade or processed by machines (there are even machines that make tofu!).
We know what you're thinking: "I don't like tofu." Trust us—you will once you've tried it! Tofu is high in protein but low in fat so it won't add much to your daily calorie intake if eaten on its own (although you should still limit yourself to one serving per day).
The main reason people avoid tofu is because they think it tastes awful compared to other meats such as chicken breasts or beef steaks topped with cheese sauce. But we promise this isn't true—in fact there are ways around any possible flavor issues.
You can simply add flavoring ingredients such as lemon juice or Worcestershire sauce before cooking them at low temperatures for long periods of time until golden brown (which means no need for oil).
Serving size: 0.5 cup
Image from Thespruce.com
Lentils are a great source of protein, and they're easy to cook. They're also inexpensive, versatile and nutritious.
The secret to getting the most out of lentils is cooking them properly: soak them in water for at least an hour before cooking with whatever you're making (vegetables or grains). This will help soften up their texture so that they aren't difficult to chew when you eat them.
Serving size: 100g
Chickpeas are a great source of protein, fiber and folate. They're also high in manganese, iron and magnesium (which is good for your bones).
It can be eaten in many different ways—they're delicious as a snack or side dish at dinner time!
6. Peanuts, peanut butter and other nuts
Serving size: 1 oz
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Nuts and peanut butter are a great source of protein, but they're also high in calories and fat. You should limit your intake to about two ounces per day (about the size of four peanuts) or less.
They are also high in cholesterol, so if you have high cholesterol levels or want to reduce them, choose almonds instead of peanuts as your nutty treat!
Serving size: 1 large
Image from thespruceeats.com
Eggs are an excellent source of protein—and they're also rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. When you're craving something savory for breakfast or dinner, eggs are a great way to go!
Serving size: 120g
Image from urbanvegan.net
Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten. It has been used in Asian cuisine for centuries as a meat replacement, but it's now gaining popularity across the United States.
There are many different brands of seitan on the market today and many different ways to prepare it, but here we're going to talk about how seitan can help you maintain healthy eating habits while still enjoying your favorite foods!
It can be used in variety of recipes because it has the consistency of ground beef-it just happens to come from plants! You can use seitan as an alternative for ground beef in tacos or sloppy joes; or cook up some seitan shanks if you're feeling fancy (and have time!).
Regardless of which type of vegetarian diet works best for your lifestyle goals—whether those include building muscle mass or maintaining an active lifestyle—there’s no doubt about it: getting enough protein is important for everyone! And I hope this blog helped you in finding your protein options fit for your diet.
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