Protein for Vegetarians
There are a variety of reasons to cut meat out of your diet, but what do you do about the protein problem that comes with your new life choice? With no more fish, chicken, or beef to pump up protein intake, some people panic and go straight to supplements to stay healthy. However, there are natural ways to keep your diet meat-free and protein-packed.
First of all, why do you need protein? Because it’s the most basic building block that makes up your body. Every part of your body utilizes protein to make every muscle, tendon, and functioning cell work properly. Without protein, your body would begin breaking down muscles to feed itself and keep things working properly. For a healthy person, the proper amount of protein can be determined by multiplying their weight by .37. This means that a 200lb person would need 74 grams of protein, and a 150lb person would need 55.5 grams. This may sound like a lot, but it’s certainly obtainable with a healthy diet.
Let’s start off with the more obvious protein sources. For vegetarians, meats are out of the question, but some still eat eggs, and can be a quick, easy source for those people. Eggs can be scrambled, fried, boiled, deviled, used in baking, or even made into their own dishes like quiche.
Large egg … 6 grams
Cheese/oz … 7 – 10 grams
Milk/cup … 8 grams
Greek Yogurt/cup … 24 grams
However, animal products aren’t the only source, which is good news for vegans. Whole grains can be a fantastic source–especially quinoa. These grains are healthy anyway, but only as long as they remain pure. Grains like white rice bear no nutritional merit, because they’ve been cleaned and husked, taking all the important nutrients out.
Quinoa/cup … 18 grams
Buckwheat/100 grams … 13 grams
Oats/100 grams … 17 grams
Wild rice/100 grams … 4 grams
Wheat/100 grams … 11 – 15 grams
Another source of protein is beans, lentils, and legumes. Beans are more common, but lentils are easier and quicker to cook. They absorb flavor easily, and provide even more protein than some beans.
Lentils/cup … 18 grams
Boiled Soybeans/cup … 26 grams
Kidney beans/cup … 13 grams
Black beans/cup … 15 grams
Peanuts/100 grams … 23.7 grams
Other various foods can be high in protein as well, some of which may be surprising.
Pumpkin/Squash seeds/cup … 74.8 grams
Marmite/100 grams … 27.8 grams
Cocoa Powder/100 grams … 20 grams
Dried Seaweed/100 grams … 58 grams
The search for protein doesn’t have to be difficult for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone. Eating healthy can be easy if you eat a balanced meal. Just look for snacks at your local health food store, or look closely at a grocery store. Be sure to watch for over-processed foods, though, or you’ll miss all those good nutrients.