Get Your Proteins Right
"Where do you get your daily dose of protein from?" It's a daily conversation for most vegetarians, but it indeed is easier to get plant-based protein than you might think. You don't always have to eat meat or cheese to get enough protein.
It is easily possible and also very tasty to live solely off non-meat sources to get your protein. A study at Harvard found that people who eat plant-based protein were likely to live longer than the people who got their protein from meat-based sources, even with unhealthy lifestyle choices like heavy drinking and smoking.
There are some vegetarians who eat eggs and cheese then there are vegans who abstain from all animal products. Vegans strictly stick to plant-based proteins like legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, etc. Dairy products are a good source of protein for vegetarians but one should be aware of the saturated fat content present in dairy products.
Here are some vegetarian food items that you can get your hands on to meet your required protein intake:
Most grains contain a small amount of protein, but quinoa is a complete protein. It is technically a seed but a unique one. One cup of quinoa contains 220 calories, 39 g of carbohydrate, 5 g of fiber and 8 g of protein including all nine essential amino acids that the body requires for growth and repair, but cannot produce on its own. Due to its high nutrition value, it is often referred to as "perfect protein”. Quinoa can be added to soup during the winter months, served as a hot breakfast cereal with brown sugar and fruit, or tossed with vegetables and vinegar to make a summer salad.
There are many different varieties of beans for example black, white, heirloom, etc. One thing they all have in common is their high quantity of protein. One cup of kidney beans contains about 13 grams of protein. You can buy them dried and soak them overnight before you cook them or you can buy them canned, rinse them, and heat them up over the stove.
Tofu and Soy Products
A hundred grams of tofu contains 8 grams of protein and a cup of soy milk contains 7 grams of protein. You can add a bit of tofu to just about anything you cook, including tofu stir-fried veggies, pasta sauces, soups, and also salads.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are a very rich source of protein like almonds, cashews, walnuts and so are seeds such as sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. For eg, a 100 g of almonds contains 21g of protein. Being a rich source of protein these nuts and seeds have a considerable fat content. Therefore they should be eaten in the right content.
Seitan is high in protein which makes it a popular source of protein among vegetarians and vegans. One ounce of seitan contains 21 grams of protein. It is low in carbohydrates and fat. Since seitan is gluten, it should be avoided by those on a gluten-free diet. It is made by washing away the starch in the wheat which in turn leaves high-protein gluten behind.
The little green peas contain 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), which is slightly more than a cup of milk. Apart from being rich in protein peas are also a good source of iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper and plenty of other vitamins. Nevertheless, a serving of green peas also covers more than 25% of your daily fiber, vitamin A, C, K, thiamine, folate and manganese requirements.
One cooked cup of lentils provides 16 to 18 grams of protein. They are relatively quick and easy to prepare compared to dried beans, and being low in cost makes them an accessible form of high-quality protein for many people around the world. Lentils can be prepared in various ways which makes it versatile as well.
Broccoli contains more protein than most of the other veggies. Broccoli is high in various nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium. Due to the health benefits, broccoli is also known as “super veggie” It is a part of the same family as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts. You can have broccoli raw, cooked or steamed (which according to some studies provides the most health benefits)
Be smart about the food you eat and you’ll realize that it is not difficult to meet your daily requirement of protein being a vegetarian/vegan.