When you tell someone that you are a vegetarian, the first question you are likely to get is, where do you get your protein ? Most vegetarians believe that they don’t get enough protein from the food they eat and I also know a few who started consuming meat believing this myth but the fact is, there are plenty of vegetarian foods that can give you enough protein for the day.
Why do we need Protein
- Proteins are the basic building blocks of bones, muscles, skin, cartilage and blood in Human Body that pretty much sums up why we need protein, right!
- There are 20 different kind of amino acids that form a Protein, and 9 that body cannot produce by itself. These are called Essential Amino Acids – these need to come from the food you eat.
- Protein take longer time to digest when compared to any food you eat which means body burn extra calories to digest it. Plus, it will keep you full for longer and are low in calories when compared to carbohydrates. Perfect reason to go on high protein diet if you are trying to lose weight.
6 Easy Ways to Add Proteins for Vegetarians
1) Start your day with Eggs– If you are an eggterian, having some hard-boiled eggs or an egg white omelette for breakfast is a perfect protein kick-start for your day.
Serving According to USDA- the egg white contain 3.6 g of protein whereas the whole egg contain 6 g of protein in it.
2) Munch on Greek Yogurt– Greek yogurt has half the calories and twice in protein when compared to the regular yogurt thus making it perfect for munching with some fruits or by itself.
3) Protein’ify your meal – There are tons of easy ways to up the protein content in your meal
- Add some nuts/sunflower seeds/ flax seeds to your salad to get that extra protein. Chickpeas is also a great source of protein.
- If you eat rice for lunch or dinner, have it with lentils (Indian Dal)/ Kidney beans (Rajma)/Legumes (peas)/ black beans/ moong Dal.
- Consume Tofu/ paneer with your meal.
- Substitute regular cheese with cottage cheese.
3) Substitute rice with Quinoa at times – Quinoa is technically a seed that contain more protein than any grain. It is called ‘Complete Protein‘ as it includes all 9 essential amino acids that body can’t produce. Plus, it is versatile and can be consumed with oats as a breakfast dish or tossed in your salad with some veggies for lunch or you can totally make an Indian style upma with it.
5) Snack bright– If you are trying to lose weight then snacking is one thing you would want to do it right. If you are like me who tend to have healthy meals in a day, but just go out of board and eat anything when you are hungry then incorporating protein rich nuts or nut butters into your snacks is what you need the most. A protein bar / some nuts / nut butter like peanut butter, almond butter, string cheese is what you should be looking at when you are hungry. Nuts are high in calories as well as protein.
Avoid protein bars that contain more/artificial sugars. my personal favorite is these.
6) Consume protein rich vegetables– This is perhaps my favorite way as I am a lover of all veggies. You will be surprised to know how some of the vegetables you consume everyday are rich in protein like onions, Green peppers, Avocado, Kale, Tomatoes, Potatoes ( yes! potatoes), Cauliflower, Spinach (now you know where Popeye gets all the power!), legumes (peas)- an excellent source of protein, Artichoke, Broccoli.
This chart provides some of the best proteins for vegetarians. You can always go to USDA site to get the nutrition facts of any food.
What about you? What are your favorite proteins for vegetarians?