The vegetarian diet can be very healthy; however, many vegetarians do not get enough protein. Instead of eating nutritious protein sources, many vegetarians end up eating too many carbohydrates. This type of diet not only causes weight gain, but it also can negatively impact your health. Use the suggestions listed below to ensure your body gets the protein it needs to function properly.
- Chia- Chia seeds have been touted as a super seed. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 4 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. In additions, these powerhouses contain eight essential amino acids and a variety of trace minerals. This powerful antioxidant rich food contains more omega-3 fatty acids than a serving of walnuts, twice as much magnesium and iron as a serving of spinach and as much calcium as a serving of milk.
- Edamame- Edamame is green soybeans. Soybeans, including edamame, contain nine essential amino acids and a plethora of vitamins and minerals. A half-cup serving of edamame provides you with 11 grams of protein. This delicious soy product contains over 100 percent of the daily-recommended allowance of folate, half the vitamin K you need and over 79 percent of the recommended daily allowance of manganese.
- Hemp Seed- Hemp seeds provide you with both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Three tablespoons of hemp seed provides you with 10 grams of protein, half the daily-recommended value of magnesium and 3.5 grams of zinc.
- Hummus- Hummus is made from ground chickpeas. A one-cup serving of hummus provides 19 grams of protein and 33 percent of the recommended daily value of iron. It is also packed with folate, magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
- Lentils- Lentils are packed with proteins and fiber to help you stay healthy. A quarter of a cup of uncooked lentils contain less than 170 calories, but supply you with 12 grams of protein, making them the perfect choice for those watching their weight, while wanting to increase their protein intake.
- Peanut Butter- This delicious spread is packed full of protein. In fact, each 2-tablespoon serving gives you 8 grams of protein. Each serving also contains vitamin E, Niacin and manganese.
- Quinoa- A one cup serving of quinoa provides 8 grams of protein and only has 222 calories. Filled with magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, this wholesome grain is delicious and a great side for dinner.
- Seitan- Seitan is the meaty portion of wheat that contains protein. A three-ounce portion contains 21 grams of protein and is a great alternative protein source for vegetarian. It contains no saturated fat and plenty of fiber.
- Sunflower Seeds- Sunflower seeds are often enjoyed by athletes. Each 1-cup serving provides 23 grams of protein, making the perfect snack to enjoy on the go. Additionally, it is packed with vitamins and minerals, including pantothenic acid, folate, iron and zinc.
- Tempeh- Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and provides 15 grams of protein per 1/2 cup serving.
- Tofu- Tofu is another meat alternative loaded with protein. One ounce of tofu contains 5 grams of proteins and only 76 calories.
- Kale- Enjoy a serving of kale for a low calorie side dish that supplies 2 grams of protein, over 600 percent of the recommend daily value of vitamin K, 200 percent of vitamin A and 134 percent of vitamin C.
- Spinach- Popeye had it right by eating spinach. One cup of canned spinach provides 5 grams of protein and over 300 percent of vitamin A.
- Broccoli- One cup of broccoli florets contains 2 grams of protein, over a hundred percent of the daily value of vitamin C and is only 20 calories.
- Avocados- Avocados are filled with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and 5 grams of protein. Loaded with folate and vitamin C, this healthy fruit is delicious and provides 16 grams of fiber.
Being a vegetarian does not mean that you have to sacrifice your protein intake. There are many delicious and nutritious vegetarian protein option available. Use the protein sources listed above to help ensure you get enough protein in your diet. Taking a high quality protein powder from Metagenics can substitute your protein requirement as well.