If you are thinking about becoming a vegetarian or you have to eat less red meat for health reasons, don’t worry, you don’t have to struggle to get adequate protein!
A vegetarian is someone who leaves out fish and meat from their diet for religious, moral, or health reasons. And there are also many health reasons that a doctor may tell you to cut out red meats. If you don’t already eat a healthy diet you could end up denying yourself proteins your body needs.
Protein is the absolute key for maintaining your muscles and keeping them strong. Protein, too, is the macronutrient you need when you are dieting for weight loss because it keeps you feeling full and satisfied.
Some people may wonder where vegetarians actually get their proteins from. According to Dietary Guidelines, men need to get 56 grams of protein a day and women need 46 grams of protein a day. These, of course, are the average stats. This depends on your activity levels, age, and a few other factors. So you may need more or less the average amount.
Let’s take a look at some great high protein foods that anyone can add to their diets:
1. Greek yogurt
23 grams of protein per cup usually!
How delicious is Greek yogurt? You can add it to smoothies and layer it with delicious fruit and granola. Or use it like sour cream for your dips and tacos. Not only plenty of protein, but Greek yogurt also contains probiotics to keep your gut healthy too!
9 grams of protein per ½- cup (cooked)
Lentils are truly packed with protein and also offer you essential fiber which is so good for your heart. Lentils give you that full-feeling that can also help prevent over-eating.
3. Chia seeds
3 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon
Chia seeds are nutrient-dense, delivering protein, plenty of fiber and omega-3. Chia seeds can also be blended into smoothies. Did you know that you can make delicious chia seed jam to eat on your toast? So delicious!
8 grams of protein per cup (cooked)
This one you don’t want to do without because as a protein, it actually contains all nine essential amino acids. That makes it a complete protein which other plant-based proteins aren’t. Just a cup of quinoa gives you 5 grams of fiber too.
Apart from all that filling protein, quinoa is very rich in phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, thiamine, and folate. And for those who always look out for gluten-free foods, quinoa comes out with full marks.
5. Cottage cheese
14 grams of protein per ½-cup
Cottage cheese is delicious on healthy whole-wheat biscuits. Both my mom and my boyfriend love eating cottage cheese with peaches! It also works so well as a dip or you can even add fruit to it. But on top of that, it’s good for you!
It is a bit higher in sodium than Greek yogurt is, so you need to bare that in mind if you need to watch your salt intake.
6. Hemp Seeds
4 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon
Not only are hemp seed an excellent source of protein, but they provide plenty of omega-3. They are also delicious sprinkled over smoothies.
7. Beans, such as black beans, chickpeas, etc.
8 grams of protein per 1/2 cup (cooked)
Just like lentils, beans also deliver plenty of fiber and are ideal to add to dips, soups, and salads. One of my personal favorites is hummus with vegetables! So delicious.
5 grams of protein per 1/4 cup (shelled)
Never heard of edamame? Well, they are actually green soybeans, and you often find them on the sushi restaurant menus. You buy them either in their shells or shelled – add to salads, stir-fries and grain bowls.
9. Green Peas
8 grams of protein per cup
A lot of us don’t really know that peas are a protein source, but they are. Green pea soup is just too delicious for words and very healthy. They are also ideal for side dishes, or added to salads, etc.
10. Peanut Butter
7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons
Peanut butter and peanuts are packed with protein, good fat, and fiber. That’s a winning combination if you are talking good health! Peanut butter is so delicious that apart from eating it on toast, it is ideal for smoothies too, let alone dunking a spoon in and eating it just like it is.
6 grams of protein per ounce
Almonds are also packed with protein, fat, and fiber. Almonds are a wonderful vegetarian option to keep hunger pangs at bay. They are filling as a snack, or they can be added to salads or you can make almond butter with them.
6 grams of protein per large egg
Eggs are just too delicious, and many people want to eat them much more than just for breakfast. Previously eggs had a bad reputation because they are high in cholesterol but, eating cholesterol doesn’t raise your cholesterol.
Egg yolks are extremely nutrient-rich, delivering protein, antioxidants and vitamins.
Don’t be too chicken to try these out, they are truly the best non-meat protein sources for glowing health!
What is your favorite protein? Have you ever tried a vegetarian diet? Tell me about it!