If you have decided to go meatless, you have two options: To live with protein deficiency or find foods that can nourish your body with all the essential nutrients found in meat.
Meat is one of the major sources of protein and other essential compounds such as vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, and iron. So how do you identify foods that nourish your body with this dietary building block? That’s where the challenge is for most vegans. If you’re a vegetarian, this article lists powerful protein sources to keep your body nourished with these essential building blocks.
Note: To obtain all the essential nutrients, you should incorporate a combination of some of the foods you’re going to read on this list.
Rice comes in different varieties and with a different texture, taste as well as nutritional value.
If you’re going meatless, you may want to consider vegetarian protein sources like brown rice. Note that brown rice takes time before it’s completely cooked, but it contains more nutrients.
The grain consists of the bran and husk if not taken out. When rice is husked, it becomes tender. On the other hand, when cooked, long, medium, and short-grain rice produce different textures. Lastly, red and black rice contains added antioxidants.
In terms of nutritional profile, a cup of cooked brown rice contains 1 mg sodium, 4.5 g protein, 46g carbohydrates, 10 mg calcium, 218 calories, and 0.5 mg iron.
2. Protein Powder
Protein powders are convenient and a quick source of protein. Aside from protein, plant-based protein powders are a powerful source of vitamins, plenty of amino acids, and minerals.
The best thing about plant protein powders is that they don’t contain additives which make them easy to digest. Make sure you find vegan protein powders with ample protein and amino acids profile.
Pea and rice are a good source of protein.
Lentils are little legumes that are available dried and with different colors and sizes. Ideally, you can get green, red, black, brown, and yellow lentils with different tastes and textures. The good thing is that cooking lentils is easy and you can use them as stews, salads, or soups. Besides, they don’t need to be socked and they take around 25 minutes to cook.
Another reason to incorporate lentils into your vegan nutrition is that they contain folate a helpful compound for heart health and your nervous system. The best way to get the most out of lentils is to pair them with foods rich in vitamin C like oranges and tomatoes to enable your body to absorb the iron effectively.
In terms of nutritional profile, a quarter cup of raw green lentils contains 2.5 mg iron, 180 calories, 30g carbohydrates, 20 mg calcium, 13g protein, and 15 g dietary fiber.
4. Nuts and Nut Butters
All nuts from cashews, pecans, almonds, peanuts, etc., contain ample nutrients that make them incredible sources of proteins for vegetarians. The best thing about nuts is that you can take them as toppings, pair them with stews, sauces, soups, or take them as snacks. You can also use almond and peanut butter as spreads or pair them with sauces.
It’s important to understand that even though nuts are vegan protein sources, they also pack high amounts of fat and calories, so you need to take them with moderation. In terms of nutritional profile, a half cup of nuts contains 10g protein, 3g dietary fiber, 80 mg calcium, 1g sugars, 1.9 mg iron, and 5g carbohydrates.
Beans contain high amounts of protein, soluble and insoluble fibers which helps with decreased cholesterol and improved digestion. To get all the essential nutrients, health experts recommend taking a variety of beans including heirloom, chickpeas, and black beans.
The best thing about beans is that you can add them to soups, salads, dips, burgers, etc. A half-cup of canned black beans contains 10g protein, 341 mg sodium, 40 mg calcium, 150 calories, 10 g dietary fiber, and 23g carbohydrates.
Vegetarians don’t have to miss out on life. Not only are there vegetarian foods that can help you with things like increasing your stamina, but there are also such foods that can support your muscle growth. As you can see, if you’re a vegetarian, you have a ton of protein sources at your disposal. You just need to know how to identify potent vegan protein sources.
Do you know other protein sources for vegetarians? If so, share them with us in the comment section.