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  • Deanne Panday

High Protein Sources for Vegetarians



What is the first thing that comes to your mind when we talk about Protein rich foods? When we talk about protein, we usually relate it to meat and fish. It is a common misconception that vegetarians lack protein in their diet. One can get protein even without eating meat and fish. Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, hormones and pretty much everything that matters in your body. For this reason, one should include high-quality protein in every meal. Protein is that magic nutrient which helps you increase your muscle mass and strength while helping you lose weight. Protein is made up of a chemical compound known as amino acids. There are nine such compounds that our body needs from food. These are the essential amino acids. Study shows, approximately on an average, an adult woman needs 46 grams of protein a day; and an average adult man needs 56 grams. Since proteins act as the building blocks of our body, it is vital to make sure that there is no possibility of a protein deficiency. By consuming a variety of vegetarian protein rich foods, you can easily cover your protein requirements.

Here’s how to get adequate proteins when you are a “no meat athlete”!


1. Tofu


Tofu originates from soybean. It is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Consider this soybean block a blank canvas: it’ll soak up the flavours of whatever you add to it. Use silken varieties for blending into smoothies and puddings; save firmer tofu for baking or stir-frying into chewy pieces and tossing into salads, sandwiches, veggie bowls, and noodle dishes. Along with its high protein content, tofu is also a great source of calcium.


2. Edamame


Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans. Edamame contains around 12% protein, which is a decent amount for a plant food. It is also a quality protein source, providing all the essential amino acids. Additionally, soybeans are a whole protein source. They can be prepared with a pinch of salt and added to soups, stews, salads and noodle dishes, or simply eaten as a snack. A cup (155 grams) of cooked edamame provides around 18.5 grams of protein.


3. Chia seeds

 

Chia seeds are an incredibly versatile source of plant based protein. They have a bland taste and are able to absorb water, turning into a gel-like substance. This makes them an easy addition to a variety of recipes, ranging from smoothies to baked goods and chia puddings. These little seeds contain a good amount of iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and

various other beneficial plant compounds.


4.Nuts and Nut butter


Just a handful of walnuts, almonds, cashews, or peanuts gives you a quick-and-easy protein boost. When choosing which nuts to buy, keep in mind that blanching and roasting may damage the nutrients in nuts. So reach for raw, organic versions whenever possible. Nut butters are also great sources of protein.


5.Wild rice


Wild rice contains approximately 1.5 times as much protein as other long-grain rice varieties, including brown rice and basmati. Wild rice is not stripped of bran, making it rich in fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Although it raises concern due to its arsenic content.


6. Beans


Beans are known for making dishes more filling. This is due to its high protein content. Beans also help lower cholesterol and promote healthy digestion. You can include a variety of beans- such as chickpeas, black beans, and heirloom beans, for the widest range of nutrients.


7. Lentils


These little legumes are packed with the about the same amount of hunger-quelling fiber as beans. They do not even require soaking for hours. They can be used in a variety of dishes, ranging from fresh salads to hearty soups and spice-infused dals. They are nutritional powerhouses and lower many health related risks.


8. Tempeh


Yet another derivative of protein rich soybean. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans prior to pressing them into a patty. Tempeh contains a good amount of probiotics, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. It is a ground meat alternative, crumble tempeh, pan-fry it, and stir into pasta sauces, taco fillings, and gravy.


9. Protein-Rich Fruits and Vegetables


All fruits and vegetables contain protein. Certain fruits and vegetables contain more protein than others. Include them in your meals to increase your daily protein intake. Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Fresh fruits generally have a lower protein content than vegetables. Those containing the most include include guava, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines and bananas.


10. Oats


Oats are an easy and delicious way to add protein to any diet. It also contains good amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and folate. Although oats are not considered a complete protein, they do contain higher-quality protein than other commonly consumed grains like rice and wheat. They can be added to a wide range of recipes.


Protein is a macronutrient demanded by your body. It is very important to include sufficient quantities of this nutrient in your diet. Clearly, finding Plant based sources of protein is not a problem area for vegetarians and vegans. Include these proteins in your diet and fulfil your daily protein requirement.

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