How to Get Enough Protein on a Veggie Diet

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Quinoa is an excellent protein source
Whole grains, including quinoa, can provide the protein you need to be in optimal health. Photo via Pixabay.

Today’s guest post from Helen Bradford, offers excellent options for getting enough protein as a vegetarian. Helen’s writing is informative and easy to understand, making this a useful guide that absolutely deserves the spotlight here today. Take it away, Helen!

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Even though getting enough protein when following a certain diet (vegetarian, vegan or a gluten-free diet) may seem a bit difficult and tricky – it actually isn’t. It is very important to consume the protein with your diet since it fuels your body and gives you energy. Follow these tips to learn how to get enough protein your body actually needs while staying on a veggie diet.

Quinoa is an excellent protein source
Whole grains, including quinoa, can provide the protein you need to be in optimal health. Photo via Pixabay.

Calculate the right amount of protein for your body

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 intake enough 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 filled with bad cholesterol. If you are following a strict diet, you should know by now that you don’t need to eat meat or other animal products to ensure enough protein for your body.

Protein sources that fit a veggie diet

There are numerous sources of protein that you can mix every day and ensure your body gets the right amount of protein it needs. 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.

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 is that quinoa is amazingly versatile and you can experiment with 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 whole grains and get enough protein for your body weight on a daily basis.

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 perfect snack since they contain 5 grams of protein while pistachios contain 6 grams – pick the ones you like and voila!

You can 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.

Legumes

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 which makes it 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.

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!

Nutrition, veggie style, is Helen's guest post topic
Meet Helen Bradford. She writes about health and nutrition, including how to get enough protein as a vegetarian. Photo via Helen.

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.

19 COMMENTS

  1. The was an amazing read! Helen you are awesome! I never really thought about the amount of protein my body specifically needs. I have just been trying to add more and more protein not even focusing on the amount! Thanks for bringing that to light! 😇

  2. Great article! I’ve been a veggie most of my life. I know from experience that we can get enough protein on a vegetarian diet.

  3. I was just wondering to myself how to get enough protein in a vegetarian diet, thanks for posting this it was very informative! I’ll be trying new foods to get more protein. You reminded me that I have chickpeas in my cupboard and that baking them as a snack sounds good 🙂

  4. When I was a vegetarian I used to make a big pot of what I called my protein stew. It included pinto beans, brown rice, and portobello mushrooms for the protein and potatoes for the carbs. Then I would add tomatoes, garlic, and anything else I felt like and cook it in tomato sauce. I could make a pot that would give me a meal a day for a week.

  5. I find this information so helpful. Straightforward and succinct. I never thought of oatmeal as protein – going to add it to my breakfast ideas (not a breakfast fan – maybe lunch?). And I’ve recently found the joy of chickpeas.

  6. Hi Helen and Christy…

    Though not vegetarian I do supplement my diet with protein in the form of Whey drinks by adding them to mid day smoothies. Great tips and ideas, thank you for posting.

    Hugs

  7. Thanks Helen and Christy for this informative post. I know quite a few who are newbie vegans and can’t understand what they need to eat to compensate for getting in enough protein. 🙂

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