The fitness industry will bang on about protein, guys in the gym will be chugging on their protein shakes, ‘Bruh this shake has 50 grams of protein and it’s going to make me mahoosive, yeah bruh totes about the gainz!’ Personal Trainers will instruct you to get your protein intake up, especially women but what if you don’t want to consume tons of meat or protein shakes, not everyone is the same, surely these are the only two options. Well if you are Vegetarian then you will not want a meat source and if you are Vegan then you won’t want to go near any of that stuff… so how do you get your protein in, what are your choices?
Below I have picked out some of the best Vegetarian and Vegan options for protein. Even if you are not Vegetarian or Vegan you can still use these protein sources, as it’s much better to get your protein from natural sources than from a protein shake.
Squeeze more bone-fortifying calcium into your diet (without indulging in dairy) by loading up on nuts like peanuts, almonds and pistachios (not the honey roasted type!!). One serving of each has about 160 high-quality calories because they’re made up of a well-balanced blend of protein, fiber and fat. Aside from being the perfect snack on the go or in the office, nuts are a great power food that will help fill you up and trim you down. Nut and seed butters are higher in fat than protein but these ‘good’ fats can actually help to make you lean. Some people will say that you will get fat by consuming too many nuts… but do you know how many nuts you will need to consume, constantly, to do that? Well I don’t know either but I can say that it will be a lot, and way more than you can consume in one sitting or you need to learn some self control.
People tend to overlook the power of plant-based protein, but they’re the second-highest source of protein after meat. All bean varieties average about 15 grams of protein. Beans are also exceptionally low in fat, high in fiber and best of all they’re cheap! Though it’s true that beans are not complete proteins, they do have many of the essential amino acids necessary for muscle building. there has been research that shows that adding beans to your diet could help to lower your blood pressure and improve overall heart health.
Legumes are similar to beans, so think: lentils, peas, chick peas, soybeans. They’re low in fat, have no cholesterol and they’re one of the greatest sources of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Cooked lentils boast nearly 18 grams of protein; add the brown variety to soups and the green to salads for an added boost. These flavorful beans are packed with B vitamins, folate, as well as fiber.
For optimal muscle building, you want your diet to be as nutrient dense as possible, peas, spinach, kale, broccoli are the highest protein vegetables. Kale and spinach can help you up your protein intake. Two portions of kale has about 4 grams of protein and spinach has 2 grams. This isn’t a lot, but if you add leafy greens to your morning breakfast, have a salad for lunch and cook spinach for dinner, you can easily consume up to 15 grams of protein in one day.
Just one small glass of calcium-fortified hemp milk has about 3 grams of protein and 30 percent of your daily calcium needs . And for an even bigger protein punch, drink soy milk. again one small glass packs around 8 grams of protein . Have a glass with breakfast, pour some in cereal, or add a splash to your smoothies.
Pea Protein Powder
Pea protein is one of the best protein sources out there, nutritionally- and amino acid-wise, because its similar to animal protein and most supplement companies and stores stock these variants of protein powder now.
Loaded with protein, good fat and omega 3’s, chia seeds are one of the greatest to snack on or add to dishes. Made famous by the Born to Run book, and well know in running circles, chia seeds have been around for a very long time but have only recently become very popular. Make chia pudding or sprinkle chia seeds on your morning porridge for a boost of protein. One tablespoon of chia seeds is around 60 calories and yields three grams of protein.
In 2013, the United Nations dubbed the year as the International Year of Quinoa and this was for good reason. This grain is packed with important vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and folate, plus add in that it’s a protein powerhouse. The best part of all? Unlike many other meat-free sources of protein, quinoa has all nine essential amino acids your body needs, making it a ‘complete’ protein. Tell that to the people who say you can’t get complete proteins unless you eat animal meat!
Now this one isn’t for the Vegans out there, but Greek Yoghurt is low in calories, high in protein, and oh-so-very-creamy, sometimes it sounds like it’s too good to be true. But it’s true: The strained yogurt is a real-life diet superstar. One 100-calorie serving of the dairy dish can contain up to 18 grams of protein and stop eating that low fat, 0% fat rubbish which normally is full of sugars.
This soybean-based ingredient is firmer than traditional tofu, which makes it a great stand-in for meat in sandwiches, burgers, and stir-fries. In addition, it’s a protein hero. A small portion of this Indonesian favorite contains 15.4 grams of the muscle-building ingredient.
Similar to tempeh, seitan is starting to become a fixture on vegetarian menus across the country. Made from wheat gluten, this meat-alternative has both the satiating protein, whopping 21 grams a per serving and the texture of a piece of chicken or beef. Seitan is a culinary chameleon and will take on pretty much any flavor you prepare it with.
Now I’m not saying go vegetarian or vegan, how you eat and what you eat is down to you, we make our own choices and I’m not going to preach and say what is right or wrong.
Personally I’m a meat eater and I have lots of vegan and vegetarian friends and we all get on well. All I am going to say is when it comes to your nutrition it’s best to have a varied and balanced diet each day, mix it up, try different things (within your own choices). Just make sure that you consume the right amount of protein, carbs and fats, while cutting out the processed food and added sugars and the right amount of calories for you to achieve your own personal goals. The whole point of this blog is to give people choices and more information about what is healthy to eat, as most people who want to make a change, namely to lose weight or to get muscular , say that there are no options, except steamed chicken and veg.
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