Protein is essential to the human body. It protects the body and ensures proper growth and development in children and adults. Foods rich in protein provide the body with antioxidants to fight various diseases.
Fish and poultry animals contain very high amounts of protein in contrast to plant-based vegetarian food. In fact, to get the required volume of protein the body needs to function optimally, medical experts recommend animal protein.
Does this mean vegetarians are at a disadvantage and might not get a sufficient amount of protein? Far from it, there are a variety of plant-based foods rich in proteins that are good for vegetarians some of which include:
- Tofu, tempeh and edamame: Soya beans, products such as Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are some of the richest sources of protein. ½ cup of Tofu contains 10g of protein, the same measurements in tempeh and edamame beans contain 8.5g and 15g, respectively. Tofu is also a great meat substitute for vegetarians. Soy products are also rich in calcium and iron.
- Lentils: Lentils are good additions to meals like rice, salad, stews, and curries, because of the rich nutrients they supply. Lentils, red or green, are not only richly abundant in protein. They also contain a good amount of fiber, potassium, and iron.
- Chickpeas: This Asian staple is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians. It is also versatile and can be used to prepare a wide variety of dishes. Chickpeas paste (hummus) can also be used to eat sandwiches as a protein-rich substitute for butter.
- Beans: Black, white, pinto, and kidney beans are rich in protein. They also contain a good level of fiber and iron. Vegetarians should take beans with rice for a complete protein treat.
- Hemp seeds: Hempseeds are produced by the Cannabis sativa plant. Although not popular, hempseeds are 50% richer in protein than flaxseeds and chia seeds. They also have only minute amounts of THC (psychoactive property).
- Green Peas: For every cup (240ml) of cooked peas you take, you consume 9g of protein. Green peas are also rich in other nutritional requirements such as fiber, folate, magnesium, and A, C, and K vitamins.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a special kind of grain often referred to as pseudocereal because big doesn’t grow like the others. It is a complete protein that is also rich in nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, complex carbs, fiber, and iron.
- Almonds: Almonds are triple-threat nuts; they are rich in protein, fiber, and fat. Almonds can be taken as a snack, sprinkled on salads, or turned into paste.
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are another complete protein. They are low in calories and high in nutrients such as Omega-3 acids. A teaspoon of these seeds equals 2g of protein.
- Seitan: Seitan in a protein-rich food that can be used as an alternative to meat. 1/3 cups of Seitan offers you 21grams of protein. However, it should be avoided by gluten intolerant people because of its high-wheat content.