Proteins are important for all of us. While non-vegetarians can source it quite easily from various meats and poultry, getting their daily dose of proteins is a little harder for vegetarians. Proteins are the building blocks of life and they also help in repairing cells and growing new ones. Often, people follow Protein Diets to lose weight, as it keeps to you fuller and are also easier to digest. Here are some good sources of proteins that are healthy and less in saturates fat and cholesterol, and make a suitable diet for vegetarians.
Lentils, Beans and Legumes
These are all great vegetarian options for consuming protein. You can eat them in a variety of options and merge them in various cuisines. Black beans, the Indian dal, kidney beans, chickpeas are just a few varieties of lentils, beans and legumes. They are rich in protein and are also very easily available. You can opt for the canned beans or simply boil them yourself after soaking them in water for a couple of hours.
Tofu and Soy Products
Soy is a great option and the best thing is that you have a wide range of soy products to choose from. There are loads of products to try out, such as soy milk, tofu, soy yoghurt, soy ice cream, soy cheese, baked soy beans, edamame and so on. Tempeh and TVp are good options too. You can get various brands of tofu and there is a lot that you can do with this ingredient. From a gravy sauce preparation to incorporating it in salads and soups, tofu can be very versatile. Soy is a good source of iron, calcium and vitamin B12 apart from being a great source of protein!
Quinoa and Whole Grains
Eating whole grain quinoa is a very good source of protein for vegetarians. In fact, it is called the queen of whole grains. Whole grains not only provide protein but are also rich in fiber. One cup of cooked quinoa is equivalent to 18 grams of protein. You can also opt for other whole grains like barley, brown rice and whole grains.
Seeds, Nuts and Nut Butters
Various nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts and others are rich in protein. Seeds such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are also high in protein. However, remember that most of the seeds and nuts have a very high fat content so eat them in moderation and do not binge on them. Nevetheless, they are great snacking items and post workout treats. Nut butters are very good accompaniments and very tasty as well. Kids are fond of peanut butter, but you can also try experimenting with cashew nut butter and soya nut butter too.
Meat Substitutes and Seitan
Several veggie burgers are rich in proteins and that is because a lot of soy protein is used in it as substitute. You can also opt for making seitan at home which is like a mock meat and can be barbecued. This meal in itself is very filling and hearty!
By cooking slightly fermented soybeans, you can make tempeh and then turn it into a patty. In fact, it is quite similar to the veggie burger. Much like tofu and seitan, tempeh is also rich in protein and there are so many ways of cooking it. It is a good way of substituting it for meat.
If you are into heavy duty workouts, weights and body building and are looking out to forming muscles and six pack abs- then your protein requirements will be much higher. For this, you need to opt for protein powder supplements that also come in the form of protein shakes. However, always remember to buy a good quality one.
Leafy greens do contain protein but perhaps not as much as nuts and legumes. Nevertheless, they are replete in fiber and antioxidants, which make them a good option. Brocolli and spinach are good ingredients in a hearty salad. So do include these in your meals as well.
By incorporating the above foods into your diet, you will discover that you will never be deficient in protein. There are many ways of including these foods into your meals, so try to research and find novel recipes that makes the food look interesting and taste amazing!