A vegetarian diet is designed to promote health. Unfortunately, many vegetarians do not consume the recommended daily allowance of protein. Instead of including an ample amount of nutritious protein sources in their diets, many vegetarians eat too many carbohydrates.
When an individual’s diet primarily consists of carbohydrates, they are at an increased risk of weight gain. Furthermore, this type of diet can negatively impact their health. If you are following a vegetarian diet and are concerned you are not getting enough protein, we have you covered. Follow 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. Each tablespoon of chia seeds contains 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. This delicious vegetarian-friendly seed is a great way to increase your protein consumption.
In addition, 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.
You can increase your protein consumption by sprinkling a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds on your salad, mixing chia seeds in your morning smoothie, or make delicious chia seed pudding.
Edamame - Edamame is green soybeans. A half-cup of edamame contains 11 grams of protein and nine essential amino acids. If you are looking for a way to increase your protein intake, edamame is a great option.
Additionally, edamame contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals. 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.
There are several ways you can incorporate edamame into your diet. You can eat edamame plain as a snack, you can turn it into a delicious dip similar to guacamole, you can incorporate it into your favorite salad, or you can include it in fried rice.
Hemp Seed - Hemp seeds come from the cannabis Sativa plant. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain approximately 9.5 grams of protein as well as nine essential amino acids.
In addition to this, a serving of hemp seed provides 3.5 grams of zinc and half the daily recommended amount of magnesium. Each serving also contains 1.2 grams of fiber, potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and iron.
Hemp seed can easily be incorporated into your diet. You can blend water and hemp seeds to create hemp seed milk that can be used as a dairy alternative, they can be added to salads, soups, or pasta, or mixed with granola or cereal.
Hummus - Hummus is made from ground chickpeas. A one-cup serving of hummus provides 19 grams of protein.
Hummus also provides 33 percent of the recommended daily value of iron. It is also packed with folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper.
Hummus can be used as a dip for vegetables, chips, or fruit, it can be spread on wraps or sandwiches. You can also create a delicious sauce for pasta or use hummus to create a delicious salad dressing.
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 supplies you with 12 grams of protein, making them the perfect choice for those watching their weight, while wanting to increase their protein intake.
Lentils can be added to soups to increase the protein in your meal. You can add them to salads to provide flavor, texture, and nutrition. Lentils can also be mixed with rice to create a delicious and filling baked main course.
Peanut Butter - Most people enjoy a peanut butter sandwich from time to time; however, many do not realize that this delicious spread is packed full of protein. In fact, each 2-tablespoon serving gives you 8 grams of protein.
Each serving of peanut butter also contains vitamin E, niacin, and manganese. Peanut butter is a versatile protein that can be enjoyed on sandwiches, in smoothies, in sauces, or in desserts. If you are trying to increase your protein consumption begin trying to increase the amount of peanut butter you eat.
Quinoa - A one-cup serving of quinoa provides 8 grams of protein and only has 222 calories, making it a very diet-friendly option.
Quinoa is filled with magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. This wholesome grain is delicious and can be easily incorporated into your meal plan. Simply serve quinoa as a delicious side similar to rice, it can be enjoyed as a breakfast cereal or added to our favorite salad.
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 vegetarians.
Seitan contains loads of fiber and no saturated fat, making it a great option for those who are trying to lose weight. This vegetarian protein can be used as a meat substitute, added to soups or stews, or enjoyed in casseroles or stir-fries.
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.
Sunflower seeds can be used as a topping on our favorite yogurt or ice cream, it can be added to salads, or tossed in stir-fries for a delicious crunch. Sunflower seeds can also be used in a variety of baked goods, including muffins, breads, crackers, and bagels.
Tempeh - Tempeh is typically made from fermented soybeans; however, it can also be made from a variety of beans, grains, or seeds. This vegetarian-friendly meat alternative provides 20 grams of protein, 222 calories, and 12 grams of fiber in a 4-ounce serving.
Tempeh can be used enjoyed in stir-fries, sandwiches, or as a substitute for any ground beef dish like chili or spaghetti sauce.
Tofu - Tofu is another meat alternative loaded with protein. One ounce of tofu contains 5 grams of proteins and only 76 calories.
Tofu is very versatile and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. You can use it in place of eggs for breakfast, add it to soups or stews, or deep fry it for a crispy snack.
Kale - In the past, kale was only used as a garnish; however, over the years, people have learned how delicious and versatile kale is. Kale is packed with nutrients. Each serving provides 2 grams of protein, over 600 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K, 200 percent of vitamin A and 134 percent of vitamin C.
Kale is a delicious green that can be used in salads, you can add it to soups and stews, or serve it as a side dish. Kale can also be crisped in the oven, creating delicious kale chips.
Spinach - Popeye had it right by eating spinach to stay healthy and strong. One cup of canned spinach provides 5 grams of protein and over 300 percent of vitamin A.
Spinach can be juiced for a delicious and nutritious drink. It can be added to your salads, stir-fries, or soups. Spinach can also be enjoyed in eggs, puréed to create a delicious pesto for your pasta, or used on sandwiches in place of lettuce.
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.
Broccoli is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed raw, steamed, used in soups, casseroles, pasta, or added to salads. Broccoli can be pan-fried, baked, roasted, or steamed.
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.
Avocados can be enjoyed on toast for a nutritious breakfast, added to salads, used as a substitute for mayonnaise, or used to create guacamole. Slice up an avocado and enjoy it on your sandwich.
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.