Just because you are eating a vegetarian diet it does not mean that you are necessarily eating a low protein diet. Weight for weight, many plants and seed and nut sources are rich in protein.
You may already know that you do not have to eat meat to get adequate protein for your body, but in addition a diet based on plant sources may have many other health benefits and provide you with more energy than a meat based diet. If you are eating eggs, cheese and yoghurt then you are getting good levels of protein but you can also spend some more attention to your plant based sources too for variety and health reasons.
Protein is created from amino acids. These combine together in different ways and are commonly called the building blocks of protein.
You may have heard it repeated that meats contain complete proteins but plants do not, so vegetarians have to be pay extra attention to food combinations such as combining rice and beans so as to ensure they get their complete protein sources. However, both quinoa and soybeans are sources of complete proteins available to vegetarians. New research also suggests that you don’t need the complete protein sources all at the same time as your body can store the amino acids it needs and then combine them a short time later.
Which vegetarian options are rich in protein?
Aside from those already mentioned, beans and lentils, nuts, brown rice and green vegetables all contain protein. Nuts are a convenient snack that provide energy, are filling and healthy for you.
Food ideas for high protein
Porridge, whole wheat bread with peanut, cashew or almond butter and a glass of milk or soy milk.
Poached eggs with spinach, followed by yoghurt and granola.
Quinoa and mixed beans with baked potato
Brown rice and spicy lentils with stirred in natural yoghurt
Cottage, Ricotta and Feta Cheese salad with fresh spinach and pine nuts
Try keeping a bag of nuts with you whenever you leave the house. Mixed with dried fruits and your snack will not only be healthy but provide you with plenty of energy too.
Protein deficiency is rare in the West. Unless you are engaged in a high intensity exercise the chances are that you get enough protein without even trying.
Before scientists provided people with calorie quotas and recommended daily intakes, people got along by either what they could get a hold of or what their bodies told them they needed. And so long as it is not a craving for something you know is bad, then you should listen to your body. If you eat a varied diet combining foods from the different food types, add quinoa or soy, with a mix of nuts, beans, oats and green vegetables in your diet in adequate amounts then the chances are that you getting completely adequate amounts of protein and in its healthiest form too.