Protein intake is vital for our health. It constitutes more than 15% of our body weight and is essential for the production of antibodies. Additionally, protein plays a role in regulating our energy levels, metabolism, and blood sugar. Many people think that vegan and vegetarian food cannot suffice the daily protein requirement. But, it’s not true. A diet that contains a combination of vegetables, beans, and grains, is a great source of protein. Being vegan is a healthy commitment, but it can also get boring if enough food variety is not discovered. Thus, here is a list of foods high in proteins for vegetarians and vegans. You can use these items in your desired combinations and fulfill your daily protein requirements easily!
Foods high in protein for vegetarians and vegans
1. Different Forms Of Soybean
Soybeans are a wholesome source of protein. They have variants namely tofu, edamame, and tempeh. All these varieties make good choices for foods high in protein for vegetarians. All three variants offer iron, calcium, and about 100g of protein in a serving of 12-20 g. Edamame offers additional benefits of folate, Vitamin K, and fiber.
Lentils are a nutrient powerhouse, and one of the best foods high in protein for vegetarians. Along with protein, they contain large quantities of fiber that keep your gut healthy. Moreover, lentils are rich in iron, manganese, and folate too. The health benefits associated with lentils range from heart-disease prevention to weight management and even cancer prevention. You can use lentils in the form of the popular North Indian spicy preparation of ‘dahl’ or add them to salads.
Beans come in several varieties: kidney, pinto, black, and chickpeas. All these varieties can be used for making tasty dishes. They can be cooked in spices, or garnished in tangy condiments with a pinch of lemon, to make tasty salads. Beans are rich in fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, and complex carbs. Scientific studies indicate that beans can help you with weight management, maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, and keeping blood sugar in check.
4. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is commercially sold in the form of yellow powder or flakes. Because of its flavor, it’s widely used to add cheesiness to tasteless dishes like tofu, mashed potatoes, and pasta. The fortified variety of nutritional yeast is also rich in other minerals and vitamins like zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper, and Vitamins B, and B12.
5. Hemp Seeds
Hemp Seeds are a good choice for foods high in protein for vegans. Along with being rich in protein, and minerals, they also offer omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming hemp seeds can help you with skin conditions like inflammations, and help to address various menstrual issues. You can easily use hemp seeds by adding them to smoothies, salads, and muesli.
6. Green Peas
The list of foods high in protein for vegetarians is incomplete without green peas. Green peas can fulfill a whopping 25% of your daily requirement of minerals and nutrients like fiber. Iron, folate, manganese, and thiamine.
More foods high in protein for vegetarians and vegans
7. Amarnath & Quinoa
Amarnath and Quinoa are considered pseudo cereals as unlike other cereals, they don’t grow from grass. But, they are whole sources of protein which makes them fr ahead in the protein-rich grains category. They can be used in the form of flour. Quinoa contains all 22 amino acids which make it a great substitute for carbohydrates like couscous and rice.
8. Soy Milk
Soy milk is a wonderful choice to make in foods high in protein for vegans. As it’s extracted from soybeans, it can be used as a substitute for dairy milk. Soy milk is packed with calcium and vitamin D. It’s preferred that you purchase the unsweetened variety of soy milk from the market for maximum health benefits.
9. Oats and Oatmeal
You can get sufficient protein intake from oats and oatmeal. Simply include them in your daily breakfast. You can make other delicious preparations using oats like veggie oat burgers, oat pancakes, etc.
Rice is one of the must-have foods high in protein for vegetarians and vegans. Wild rice comes with bran, a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. You must make sure to thoroughly clean wild rice before consumption as it might contain a toxic compound called arsenic.
11. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein and also a great substitute for eggs as they are hydrophilic. You can sprinkle a tablespoon of chia seeds on your salads, yogurt, and smoothies.
12. Nuts, Seeds, And Nut Butters
Nuts are versatile food items that can be used as a garnish and quick snacks. They provide you with several nutrients, including protein, in just a small quantity. Protein-rich nuts include almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, and pistachios. Nut butter like peanut butter is also good for protein intake but you must make sure that you buy pure varieties that are 100% nuts. Nut butter that is high in oils, sugars, and salts, is counterproductive.
Foods high in protein for vegetarians and vegans: Some takeaways
Contrary to the popular opinion that vegetarian and vegan diets are deficient in proteins, there are plenty of foods high in protein that can serve vegetarians and vegans. Besides, these plant foods also provide a host of other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are great for overall health.