Vegetarians require high protein meals. A common concern for people who follow a vegetarian diet is that they may lack sufficient protein intake. A higher protein diet can promote muscle strength and weight loss. Protein is an essential nutrient for strengthening, maintaining, and growing muscles. Additionally, protein keeps the skin and hair strong and healthy. So where do vegetarians source their protein from?
Maintaining a vegetarian diet is uncomplicated. There are many alternatives to meat available for protein. Not to mention, high protein vegetarian meals are more delicious than ever. Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet could provide the necessary nutritional requirements of adults and children.
Some plant-based foods like soybeans and quinoa are a complete protein but are absent in other essential vitamins. Therefore, it is necessary to follow a diet that incorporates different types of foods.
Below are the healthy, high protein ingredients that you will need for many nutritious vegetarian meals.
Lentils are nutritional powerhouses! They are fantastic for creating meals for vegetarians that are high in protein. Lentils contain 18 grams of protein per cup. You can incorporate them in a variety of dishes like fresh salads, soups, and curries. Also, consider rice to for an extra portion of protein. Lentils not only deliver protein, but they are also an excellent source of fiber. A ½ cup of cooked lentils provides 8 grams of fiber.
Also, the type of fiber found in lentils feeds the good bacteria in your colon, which promotes a healthy gut. Lentils are healthy for your heart, and they help control your weight by keeping you full.
Besides, lentils can also help lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. They have the right amount of antioxidants , as well as various other health-promoting compounds.
Tofu, Tempeh, And Edamame
Tempeh, tofu, and edamame are all complete proteins. They originate from soybeans and soybeans are a major staple in high protein vegetarian meals.
This high-protein source is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. It is a popular meat substitute. They are versatile because they don’t have much taste and take on the flavor of the dish. Tofu easily blends in with any meal you prepare. A ½ cup of tofu contains about 10 grams of protein.
Tempeh contains an abundant amount of probiotics, vitamins B, and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus. You can add them to a variety of homemade meal recipes. A ½ cup of tempeh contains about 15 grams of protein.
Edamame is a young soybean, naturally gluten-free and low in calories. A ½ cup of edamame has about 8.5 grams of protein.
Research has shown that the consumption of soy foods lowers the risk of various age and lifestyle-related conditions, and it boosts overall health conditions.
⦁ Beans (Chickpeas etc.)
Beans are as good as meat when it comes to calories. Not to mention, beans are perfect for high protein vegetarian meals. They are rich in fiber and water content (two ingredients that keep you satisfied longer).
Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup.
Seeds for High Protein Vegetarian Meals
⦁ Hemp seeds
Hempseeds contain 5 grams of easily digestible protein per tablespoon. They are rich in magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium. Hempseeds are also a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Hempseed can be easily added in our everyday diet, sprinkle some in your morning smoothie, or as a dressing for salads. You can find more creatives recipes for high protein vegetarian meals with hemp seeds here.
⦁ Chia seeds
You won’t even realize you are intaking high protein with chia seeds. Like hemp seeds, chia seeds are rich in nutrients. They are a low-calorie food, rich in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids, which is healthy for the heart. For every tablespoon of chia seed, we get 2 grams of protein. You can add these seeds into your daily smoothies, yogurts. You can also make jam from chia-seeds and have it with your toast (yum).
Other High-Protein Sources
Quinoa is a grain with complete proteins, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. Per cup, cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein. Quinoa is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and iron, and are highly versatile. It can be sprinkled on a salad or eaten as the main course. You can substitute it for pasta in stews and soups.
Spirulina contains around 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. It has most of the nutrients your body needs. It is rich in iron, B vitamins, manganese, potassium, etc. Furthermore, spirulina helps in strengthening the immune system and reducing blood pressure. It improves as well blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Spirulina is mostly available as a powder or a supplement. You can mix it with your water, smoothies, or juice.
With such variation in high protein, you know that a vegetarian diet is never limited. By incorporating these high protein-rich ingredients into your vegetarian recipes, the over-all protein in the dish will increase, and you will have a delicious filling meal. Include these ingredients in your recipes to ensure a high protein diet. Also, be sure to read our article 10 Useful Tips for Vegetarian and Vegan Travel.