This article by Lily McCann gives great information on Vegetarian Protein sources - definitely worth the read.
Vegetarian Protein: The Simple Truth
Anyone who is a vegetarian or vegan, or has even talked about changing to a meat free diet with friends and family members will be used to hearing endless questions along the lines of “Where do you get your protein from?” “Are you sure you are not going to make yourself ill from lack of protein?” and even extreme comments such as “Humans are supposed to eat meat, and you will not survive if you don’t get enough protein.” In truth, these questions are born out of a nationwide ignorance of the truth about nutrition due to years and years of misinformation being issued.
If you have faced these kinds of questions in the past, you will also probably be aware that as soon as you mention that you have decided to eradicate meat from your diet, everyone around you becomes a ‘nutrition expert’ and begins to advise you on what you should be eating. The key to living a happy, healthy, meat free lifestyle is to research the facts for yourself, as then you will feel confident in your diet and the good it is doing your body.
Vegetarian Protein 101
First things first - there is an abundance of plant based sources of protein, and as long as you are eating a balanced healthy diet, protein deficiency is simply not something to worry about. Think about it logically, when was the last time that you ever heard of a person in the western world becoming protein deficient? Any of your vegetarian friends? Any of their friends? Any medical reports or news stories about the issue? No? Well there you are then. There are small amounts of protein in just about everything you eat, and if you are eating an abundance of the foods listed below, you will certainly have no problems with a lack of protein. The most common protein problem with people eating the standard American diet is actually too much protein, but that should not be an issue for you.
Protein Dense Plant Based Foods
The most accessible and easy way to ensure that you are receiving a suitable amount of protein in your diet is to eat plenty of vegetables. They contain a large amount of protein, and are also packed full of vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy body. If everyone in the country doubled their intake of vegetables each week, we would have a much healthier population! Spinach contains 7g protein per cup, kale around 5g, French beans about 13g, and peas around 9g. You get the picture, there is protein in all vegetables, and so long as you are eating a wide variety of fresh veg, you will be well stocked up on protein. The recommended daily intake of protein is between 50 and 100g of protein a day, so this target should be easily attainable.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are another easy way to get a large amount of protein into your diet, and the great thing about these is that there are so many great recipes that include these items. Bean burgers, lentil dishes such as curries, stir fries, rice dishes, chilies, and so on. One cup of cooked lentils contains a massive 18g of protein, and beans are close behind with between 13-15g per cup. Black beans, white beans, kidney beans, haricot beans and many others are a superb addition to your diet.
Another excellent way to boost your protein intake is to add protein powders into your smoothies or juices. These can be an excellent way to add nutrients, vitamins and protein into your diet, and often contain an extremely low amount of calories. Some of the best ones include pea protein, hemp protein, macca powder, and wheat grass powder. Protein powders can be particularly useful for athletes, body builders, and anyone with a particularly active lifestyle as it is an easy way to boost protein intake. One of the reasons for this is that they increase protein intake with next to zero added calories, meaning the body is getting only what it requires to build muscle, produce red blood cells, and strengthen the immune system, with no excess fat.
This South American grain is a versatile, tasty and nutrient rich food source that is becoming increasingly popular. It can be used as a replacement for rice in many dishes. One cup of Quinoa contains around 9g of protein.
Nuts are an excellent addition to your diet and raw, unbaked, unsalted nuts can be one of the healthiest forms of fat in the vegetarian diet. One easy way to increase your nut intake can be through nut butters. These delicious spreadable butters contain around 8g of protein for every few tablespoons. Try this delicious lasagna recipe with a mixed nut filling.
Welcome to Simply-Vegetarian.com where you'll find simple, nutritious and delicious meatless recipes.
I'm Mimi (that's me on the Nile River!) and this is my recipe collection. I love to be creative, love to cook and love to entertain. I'm also veggie which means that all of the above gets a bit more complicated – and a lot more fun!
On simply-vegetarian.com I share some of my family's favourite recipes, from soups and starters to holiday main dishes and desserts as well as some really good tips and suggestions for healthy eating!
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