When you think about protein, you might picture a juicy steak or an omelet topped with crispy bacon. However, animal-based foods aren’t the only source of protein. Protein content varies widely among plants.
So, even if you’re only cutting back on meat a few days a week, you can still obtain the nutrients you require if you’re considering going vegetarian or vegan. By eating a diet high in whole plant foods, you can minimize your risk of many chronic illnesses and improve your general health.
Vegetarian and Vegan Protein Sources
How much protein does your body need?
Your body’s primary building block is protein. According to Sean, “it’s necessary for the body to build muscles, tendons, and skin tissues, as well as for the production of antibodies to combat infections.”
Healthy people should consume roughly 0.36 grams of protein per pound of their body weight each day in order to maintain their optimal health. For a 150-pound adult, that works out to about 54 grams.
That, however, is only the beginning. Athletes and pregnant women alike will need more calories. The answer relies on a variety of factors, including your personal exercise level and muscle mass, Sean explains.
It isn’t necessary for the majority of people to count or keep track of how much protein they consume on a daily basis.
You should consume some with every meal, Sean advises. According to the nutritionist, vegetarians and vegans who consume a lot of pasta or fast food are more likely to be malnourished.
As a general rule, if you feel weak or fatigued frequently, or if you find yourself hungry soon after a meal, you may not be getting enough nutrients. Making dietary adjustments with the assistance of a licensed dietitian can help ensure your body is receiving the nutrition it needs.
Sources of plant protein that are the most reliable
The following list compares the protein content of several vegan and vegetarian options:
Lentils: Half a cup of cooked lentils, whether brown, green, or red, provides roughly 12 grams of protein for soups, curries, tacos, and salads. The finest prices can be found in the bulk bins of your local supermarket.
Edamame: Served in their shell, these lightly steamed or cooked soybeans are a tasty snack or appetizer. The protein content of edamame (not in the shell) is 18 grams per cup. What’s even more exciting? As a complete protein, whole soy contains all the essential amino acids your body requires but is unable to synthesize.
Tofu: Using tofu in place of meat in a recipe or even as a base for creamy desserts is so versatile that you may use it for both. Each 3.5-ounce serving has 8 grams of protein. Organic or non-GMO options with limited ingredient lists are preferable.
Tempeh: Soybean-based tempeh is high in protein, prebiotics, and other minerals, making it a good source of protein. It has more protein per serving than tofu, thanks to its smaller size. A three-ounce serving has 15 to 16 grams of protein. Because of its versatility, tempeh’s firm but chewy texture makes it a great addition to sandwiches and salads. To use it in a recipe, mince it up and use it in place of ground beef.
Grains: While you may associate grains with carbohydrates, you’d be surprised to learn that they’re also a good source of protein. 5 grams of protein are added to a half-cup of oats, for example. Barley or quinoa quarter cup (uncooked) also adds 5-6 grams. Ancient grains like teff, millet, amaranth, and quinoa can also be used to provide variety in your diet.
Green peas: Despite their reputation, green peas are an excellent source of protein: Cooked peas have 8 grams in a cup.
Nuts: Peanuts, while being a legume, are the most protein-packed nuts on the market (9 grams per quarter-cup serving). Pistachios and almonds aren’t far behind, each contributing 7 grams. Add protein and lipids to your morning oatmeal by sprinkling on a tablespoon of nut butter.
Seeds: Protein and unsaturated fats can be found in seeds just like nuts. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which offer 8 and 7 grams of protein per ounce, respectively, are good options for a healthy snack. Hemp seeds, which provide roughly 10 grams of protein per ounce, can also be added to your daily cereal or toast.
Plant-based beverages: Soy milk and pea milk, for example, provide nearly as much protein as regular cow’s milk. Make sure to look for sugar-free or minimally sweetened options.
Yeast that is good for you: In many vegan “cheese” sauces, nutritional yeast serves as a protein and B-vitamin-rich component. Two grams of protein can be added to your meal by sprinkling one spoonful on top.
Vegetables: If you’re eating a lot of vegetables, you’ll get a significant quantity of protein from them, even though they aren’t the most abundant source of protein. Cooked Brussels sprouts, for example, provide 4 grams of protein for your dinner. Approximately 5 grams of sweet yellow corn can be found in a cup. Spinach and watercress are all low-calorie, high-protein leafy greens that are also low in calories.
Several different types of Proteins
There are several different types of protein that you can include in your diet if you are vegetarian but not vegan:
In addition to being a cheap and nutritious source of protein, eggs may also be used to make a variety of dishes. Each egg has 6 to 8 grams of protein. To save calories, you can use egg whites instead of the yolks, which are rich in vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins.
Dietary sources of protein and calcium include dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Forget cottage cheese; plain Greek yogurt is the best option for getting the most protein for your dollar. For breakfast or a snack, you can add fruit, nuts, or oats to both for a satisfying meal or snack.
Additional Dietary Considerations.
On a vegan diet, you’ll need to ensure that you’re getting enough of a variety of nutrients, including protein. You should consult with your doctor or nutritionist to ensure that you are getting enough of the following nutrients:
- The B12 vitamin
- Iron, s Zinc.
- Vitamin D is required for the proper functioning of the immune system.
- Omega 3 fatty acids.
If you prefer a meat-free diet, you can be assured that you’ll obtain all the nutrients your body requires.