Graphic by: Len Duenas
Did you know that the word “protein” derives from a Greek word called “proteios” which translates to “of first rank?” This emphasizes the importance of protein, a fundamental element of our body and for our body.
When we usually hear the word protein, the instant thought is of red meat, chicken or fish. This becomes a problem for all the vegetarians.
So where do vegetarians get their daily dose of protein from? Let’s look at some protein-rich foods for vegetarians that are not only healthy but taste delicious.
Dry Fruit and Nuts (Applicable for Vegans)
Dry fruits, such as peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and pecans all contain high levels of protein.
The good thing is that not only do nuts provide this protein, but also aid in meeting other important nutrient requirements for your body. This includes fiber, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E and other antioxidants.
Peanuts contain approximately seven grams of protein per ounce, the highest amount of protein found in any of the nuts.
However, if you’re allergic to peanuts, you can switch to the many other alternatives.
For instance, almonds contain six grams of protein per ounce, followed by pistachios with five-point-seven grams of protein per ounce.
Dry fruit and nuts are a very diverse addition to any meal. You can garnish your fruit bowls with a hint of almonds or pistachios on the side, or you can have it with yogurt to add a crunch element to it. And if nothing works, just a handful by itself should be sufficient.
Soy Milk (Applicable for Vegans)
Soy is one of the few plant-based proteins that is packed with all nine amino acids, which makes it a complete protein.
One cup of soy milk contains around eight grams of protein, making it a protein-rich option not only for vegetarians but also for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.
Besides containing high levels of protein, soy milk also assists with lowering your cholesterol levels and regulating your blood pressure.
Soy milk is becoming a popular alternative to regular milk, available in all supermarkets, and even coffee shops. Next time you order a coffee, consider having it with soy milk instead for a change!
Oats (Applicable for Vegans)
Next up on our list of protein-rich foods for vegetarians is oats. Oats are higher in protein than other grains. One cup of cooked oatmeal contains six grams of protein.
Oats also help with weight loss and make you feel less hungry throughout the day due to the high content of fiber and water.
An interesting fact about oats is that these are an environmentally friendly crop since they require relatively less fertilizer and water than other grains.
Oats and oatmeal are considered a staple breakfast option for many people in the country. Oatmeal can be prepared quickly and can be modified with your choice of fruits, cereal, or yogurt, and can be topped off with chia seeds, which are also a source of high protein. If you have a sweet tooth, you can buy or bake oatmeal cookies to fulfill your cravings.
Legumes (Applicable for Vegans)
Legumes contain a broad variety of protein-rich foods, including beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
One cup of cooked lentils contains approximately 18 grams, whereas one cup of cooked chickpeas contains approximately 14.5 grams.
Legumes are actually one of the largest and most diverse plant families, with over 13,000 species, offering many options for vegetarians who wish to consume more protein.
Lentils are very commonly found in South Asian diets, whereas Hummus, made of chickpeas is a prevalent part of Mediterranean diets. Here is a very easy and delicious recipe for Hummus that you can try. It only takes 20 minutes to make! Also, it contains five grams of protein in every ¼ cup of serving.
Greek Yogurt contains more protein than other types of yogurt. One cup of Greek yogurt has 17 grams of protein compared to nine grams of regular yogurt.
Besides containing more protein than regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is also creamier, tangier and thicker than regular yogurt. This is achieved by straining out the extra whey which is present in regular yogurt. Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt also requires more milk when being prepared.
Greek yogurt can be eaten as a savory or sweet option, appealing to many different tastebuds. If plain Greek yogurt is too simple and bland for you, you can have flavored Greek yogurt readily found in supermarkets. Peach and blueberry-flavored Greek yogurts are among the popular flavored options available. It can be topped off with nuts, which are also protein-rich as mentioned above.
Here’s hoping that this list of protein-rich foods for all the vegetarians or the ones deciding to become vegetarians was helpful. May your diets be abundant in flavors, health, happiness, and of course… proteins!