19/06/2024 1:50 AM


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Top 9 Vegetarian Foods For A High Protein Diet

Top 9 Vegetarian Foods For A High Protein Diet

© Provided by The Statesman
Top 9 Vegetarian Foods For A High Protein Diet

Protein is necessary for the proper growth, development, and repair of the human body.

Vegetarian foods can be a great source of protein, and contrary to popular belief, most plant-based sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids. When quantities of particular amino acids, like methionine and lysine, are low, combining pulses with grains balances their amino acid content and makes them “complete”. For example, combining lentils with rice or hummus with wholewheat bread.

This list provides the top 9 complete vegetarian protein foods and assumes vegetarians eat dairy and eggs. If you are “pure vegetarian” or vegan, just leave these animal foods out.

Vegetarian foods high in protein include tofu, beans, lentils, yogurt, milk, cheese, green peas, nuts, seeds, whole grains, peanut butter, eggs, and white button mushrooms. The current daily value (%DV) for protein is set at 50 grams per day and is meant as a general target for most people. People should eat 0.36g of protein per pound of body weight, and more if they are active.

Protein Rich Food For Vegetarians:

1. Lentils

Lentils, also called daal, is a popular addition to an everyday meal in India. Each cup of lentils contains about 18 g of protein making it an excellent source of vegetarian protein. Lentils can be had in the form of soups or can be eaten with rotis or even rice.

In addition to protein, lentils also contain a good quantity of fiber which can help maintain healthy bacteria within the gut. There is some understanding that regular consumption of lentils may also reduce the risk of developing heart disease and cancer. However, a small number of individuals who consume lentils regularly may notice excessive flatulence. This is not unique to lentils but is generally seen with a high protein diet.

Lentils also contain quality antioxidants and numerous minerals which can help protect the cells. Make sure you have a cup full of lentils every day to get your dose of protein.

2. Legumes

Legumes include varieties of beans such as kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas and, similar ones that are widely considered to be a powerhouse of proteins. Chickpeas contain about 15 g of protein per serving and also contains contain numerous other elements and minerals that can keep you healthy, strong, and fit. Clinical studies also found that regular consumption of legumes can help keep cholesterol levels low.

Chickpeas and other legumes are great in salads or the form of low-fat, low salt curries.

3. Nuts

Nuts are superfoods. If you wish to follow a good veg protein diet, you should strongly consider adding nuts to the cavalry. Nuts such as almonds and cashew nuts are an excellent source of protein and are always included in the protein foods veg list.

On average, eating about 20 to 25 whole almonds every day can give you about 6 g of protein. However, this can be quite a lot to eat in one go, and just having a handful of mixed nuts every day can give you the protein boost your body requires. Not just that, nuts also contain a good quantity of dietary fiber and vitamin E.

If you are looking for a heart-healthy snack and protein-rich food for vegetarians, make sure you include nuts as a part of your daily diet. However, make sure you keep the salt intake low and avoid eating salted nuts.

4. Green Peas

You wouldn’t think to look at it, but green peas are an excellent source of protein. A cup full of these green beauties gives you nearly 9 g of protein. In addition to this, they are rich in vitamins A, K, and C and also contain numerous minerals and a high quantity of fiber. Simply including green peas in your daily vegetarian diet can help give you the additional protein your body requires.

5. Quinoa

Quinoa is gradually catching on in India as a food that is healthy, low in fat, and high in protein. Each cup of quinoa can provide around 9 grams of protein and is excellent for those who suffer from diabetes. They are rich in dietary fiber, which can help in keeping the blood sugar levels under control. Their glycemic index (GI) is 53.

Keeping in mind that GI of 55 or below is considered low, quinoa is an ideal food that can be included in a diabetic diet plan. Besides these, quinoa also contains a high quantity of complex carbohydrates and numerous minerals. Quinoa is one for the protein foods veg list.

6. Soy Milk

Of late, there is been a fair amount of advertising regarding soy milk as a good source of protein and this is entirely true. Many individuals are intolerant to lactose and require an alternative source of protein, and soy milk is a great one, containing nearly 7 g of protein per cup. But it is not just the protein that makes soy milk an excellent food; it is also a good source of calcium, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D However, the latter vitamins are usually present in soy milk that has been fortified.

You could add soy milk to your tea or coffee or you could just drink it directly. Avoid the sweetened variety as this can add to your body weight and would nullify the healthy effects of consuming this protein-rich food regularly.

Additionally, there are several products made from soy other than milk which is also protein-rich. These include tofu (made from the curd of soy milk), edamame (a preparation made from immature soybeans, boiled or steamed), and tempeh (a fermented preparation native to Java, it is made in a cake form).

These products all come with similar health benefits to soy milk since they maintain their high protein content but they also have added benefits like other nutrients. They can also ease hunger pangs since they are solid foods unlike soy milk, this, in turn, helps to reduce your food consumption.

These products can thus not only help to provide your daily requirement of protein but also aid you when you try to lose weight.

7. Oats

There is no doubt that oats are superfoods. Not only are they high in protein but they are a powerhouse of soluble fiber and clinically proven to help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and to lower cholesterol. A small cup of oats can provide you with nearly 6 g of protein and quarter your daily requirement of fiber. They also help regulate blood sugar levels, owing to their high fiber content and low glycemic index.

Try and avoid the masala oats or ready meals as these contain higher quantities of salt and may not be the healthy start to the day that you hope you would get from them. Instead, buy regular oats and consume them with milk and a spoonful of honey sprinkled with almonds. You could even chop some fruit up into them, or add a fistful of berries. A cup full of oats in the morning is a great way to start your day.

8. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have recently caught on in India and are being used more and more in our country as a superfood. A 35 g serving of Chia seeds contains 6 g of protein and a whopping 13 g of fiber! In addition to this, they are also high in nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron and also contain omega-3 fatty acids and numerous antioxidants that can keep you fighting fit.

Chia seeds are easy to use, and make sure that you consume the organic variety. Also, make sure that what you are consuming are not basil seeds as they look quite similar to Chia seeds. Simply soaking Chia seeds in water for a short time and then having them with your favorite beverage can give you the nutritional boost your body deserves. Chia seeds are a great protein for vegans.

9. High Protein Vegetables

Vegetables are widely considered to just contain vitamins and minerals with a small number of carbohydrates and proteins. However, some vegetables have a greater quantity of protein such as spinach, potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, and even sweet potatoes. Though the quantity of protein each of these is not comparable to non-vegetarian sources, it still is quite a decent value at around 5 g per cup full of veggie cooked.

10. Fruits

Fruits are generally poorer sources of protein. That being said, fruits such as bananas, guava, and certain berries have a decent quantity of protein in them. However, don’t rely on fruits as your source of protein instead, choose from one of the options listed earlier in this article.