Protein Options for Vegetarians
Every Sunday I like to provide nutritional and/lifestyle info. This week I thought I would focus on Protein Options for Vegetarians! Regardless if you are a vegetarian or not..having protein options other than meat is a great source of info!
Proteins are the building blocks of life...they breakdown into amino acids which promote cell development and repair. Proteins take longer to digest than carbohydrates leaving you feeling fuller for longer periods of time. The most common sources of proteins are meats, eggs and dairy..but there are other options!
1) Green Peas: Foods in the legume family are good sources of vegetarian protein, and peas are no exception: One cup contains 7.9 grams—about the same as a cup of milk
2) Quinoa: Most grains contain a small amount of protein, but quinoa—technically a seed—is unique in that it contains more than 8 grams per cup, including all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair, but cannot produce on its own.
3) Nuts: All nuts contain both healthy fats and protein, making them a valuable part of a plant-based diet.
4) Beans: There are many different varieties of beans—black, white, pinto, heirloom, etc.—but one thing they all have in common is their high amounts of protein. Two cups of kidney beans, for example, contain about 26 grams (almost the same as a Big Mac, which has 25 grams!).
5) Chickpeas: Also known as garbanzo beans, these legumes can be tossed into salads, fried and salted as a crispy snack, or pureed into a hummus. They contain 7.3 grams of protein in just half a cup, and are also high in fiber and low in calories.
6) Tofu and Tempeh: Foods made from soybeans are some of the highest vegetarian sources of protein: Tempeh and tofu, for example, contain about 15 and 20 grams per half cup.
7) Hemp: You can find Hemp in some cereals and trail mixes, or you can buy hemp seeds (10 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons) and add them to smoothies, pestos, or baked goods. Hemp milk can also be a dairy-free way to add protein to your diet, and it's even lower in calories than skim milk.
8) Chia Seeds: Chia seeds can be sprinkled over salads, stirred into yogurt or oatmeal, blended into smoothies.