Today’s guest post from Helen Bradford offers excellent options for getting enough protein for vegetarians. Helen’s writing is informative and easy to understand, making this a useful guide on protein for vegetarian diet that deserves the spotlight. Take it away, Helen!
Even though getting adequate amounts of protein when following a certain diet, whether it be vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free, may seem a bit difficult and tricky, it actually isn’t. It is very important to consume protein with your diet because it fuels your body and gives you energy. Follow these tips to learn how to get enough protein as vegetarians. Get the right amount for your unique body.
Calculate How Much Protein You Need
First things first – you shouldn’t obsess about protein intake because chances are that you probably need less protein than you think. A moderately active person needs approximately 0.37 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 125 pounds you need only 46 grams of protein daily!
Why is it Important to Include Protein?
Proteins in the body break down into amino acids that help cell growth and repair. As you already know, animal products, meat, eggs, and dairy are good sources of protein. But they can also be high in saturated fats and full of bad cholesterol. If you are following a strict diet, know that you don’t need to eat meat or other animal products to get the right amount of protein for your body.
Best Sources of Protein for Vegetarians
There are numerous sources of protein that you can mix every day to ensure your body gets the right amount of protein necessary.
For example, a cup of boiled lentils provides 18 grams of protein and combined with other nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, etc. you can make sure that your daily intake of protein is right for your body.
1. Whole Grains
The best protein sources – if you avoid eating wheat, rye or barley – are by far quinoa and amaranth that give you about 8 to 9 grams of protein per cup (it refers to cooked grain). The best part about quinoa is its amazingly versatility. Experiment with it in many recipes and always get a different flavor.
Also, traditional oatmeal contains 11 grams of protein per cup so it is a great choice for an afternoon snack or a healthy breakfast. You can pick up about 5 grams of protein from a cup of brown rice – well, rice isn’t a particularly rich in protein. But the best thing to do is to fill your plate with grains that give you sufficient protein for your body weight on a daily basis. Bonus: Whole grains can help with weight loss too!
2. Nuts and Seeds
They represent a great source of protein especially because you can add them to your meals or eat as a snack. For example, half a cup of pecans provides you with 5 grams of protein! Choose your favorite nuts as an afternoon snack while adding seeds to your three courses. Pumpkin seeds are a great snack, for example. They have 5 grams of protein, while pistachios contain 6 grams. And don’t even get us started on walnuts, which pack 4 grams of protein in just a 1/4 cup (that’s about 7 whole walnuts).
Pick the nuts and seeds you like for protein for vegetarians, and voila!
You can even add flaxseed to your meals and still keep the flavors just the way you like them. Also, an easy way to add more protein is to introduce chia seeds to your meals. They provide 4.7 grams of protein per ounce and enough fiber for your body without any calories. You can sprinkle them over salads if you like the crispy taste, stir them into yogurt or oatmeal, blend into smoothies, add to a protein shake or even soak into liquids until they plump up forming a creamy pudding-like treat.
3. Legumes for Protein for Vegetarians
Great protein sources of your vegan and vegetarian diet are obviously bean-based dishes. A cup of kidney beans gives about 16 grams of protein. Thus, it’s a perfect legume to cook in order to ensure your daily intake of protein. One cup of green peas contains about 8 grams of protein (about the same as a cup of milk) and if you’re not a big fan of peas you can try one of many ways to prepare them. Try blending them into pesto if you don’t want them as a side dish or make mashed peas (just like the good old mashed potatoes.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, can be combined in many recipes – you can put them into salads, fry them for a crunchy snack or puree them into a hummus. A half a cup of garbanzo beans contains 7.3 grams of protein while providing your body with enough fiber! You can make great, tasty meals and play with flavors.
Final Words on Protein for Vegetarians
Consult with a nutritionist or a dietitian to calculate the perfect amount of protein for your body weight. And remember – experiment with recipes to avoid getting bored with certain meals!
About Helen Bradford
Helen Bradford is a journalism student who always seeks new ideas to write about. She enjoys blogging about beauty, health and style trends for women. When she’s not writing, she spends her spare time being active through fitness and traveling.