8 Healthy Vegetarian Protein Sources

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Whether you are a full time vegetarian, taking a break from meat, or simply trying to cut down, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet. Protein is a crucial part of our diet. It is a macronutrient, which means our bodies require a large amount of it. Protein helps to promote tissue growth, strengthen nails, grow hair, assists with bone health as well as enzyme and hormone production.

Recommended Intake

  • Active men and teenage males are recommended to take three 7-ounce servings per day.
  • Females, Seniors, and children ages 2-6 should take two 4 or 5-ounce servings per day.
  • Teenage females, active women, most men, and growing children are recommended to take two daily 6-ounce servings.

Vegetarian Protein

Urban Health has compiled a list of excellent vegetarian sources of protein for you to try, take a look now and start eating!

1. Avocados

avocado-71567_640 Many of us love this green wonder fruit native to Mexico but grown worldwide. In addition to being a great source of protein, avocados help with weight loss by speeding metabolism and are also a great source of various vitamins and minerals. Avocados carry many healthy fats and have an incredibly delicious flavour.

Preparation Suggestions:
A favourite recipe using avocados is guacamole, this is a delicious and extremely popular Mexican side dish commonly served with chips, but can be eaten with healthier options like carrot sticks or celery. Simply chop 2-3 avocados, a clove of garlic, tomato, mix and mash and then add a bit of salt, pepper, lemon, and tobacco for flavour. This is a guaranteed hit and will help you store up your protein reserves.

2. Soy Milk

Many folks these days have began to substitute cow’s milk with alternatives such as soy and rice. Large corporate farming industry antibiotics have been found to be laced in cow’s milk, making it do more harm than good for our bodies. It’s great to know that substitutes are out there, and many love to drink soy milk. Additionally, soy milk is full of protein with one 8oz. glass containing around 7 grams of protein.

Preparation Suggestions:
Try using soy milk in your cereal, coffee, smoothies and anywhere else you might need a milk Substitute.

3. Greek Yogurt

dessert-447165_640 Greek yogurt is head and shoulders above the other varieties available on the market, both in terms of it’s bold flavour and rich protein content. While a 6oz. container of regular yogurt only has roughly 9 grams of protein, the same amount of Greek yogurt contains nearly double the amount, at 17.3 grams. The reason that Greek yogurt contains so much more protein is due to it’s high level of concentration. After fermentation, the yogurt is intensively strained to remove liquid and this results in a much denser product, rich with protein. Greek yogurt is an excellent addition to a diet needing more protein.

Preparation Suggestions:
Can be used in similar ways to other yogurts. Greek yogurt is especially delicious coupled with honey and fresh gluten free muesli. It is a great addition to any breakfast and will give you a hearty dose of protein rich nutrition to kick-start your day. You can also include into post work out protein shake to boost replenish your system after a rigorous workout.

4. Tofu

tofu-597228_640 Tofu is one of the richest vegetarian sources of protein. One cup of tofu contains a whopping 22 grams of protein. Tofu makes an excellent meat substitute and is frequently added into many Asian dishes. Tofu is made from soymilk and this is why it’s protein content is so high.

Preparation Suggestions:
Tofu can be prepared in many Asian stir-fry dishes and with the use of a wok you can easily prepare these yourself. Another really great recipe to look into making would be Jamaican Jerk tofu. The Jamaican dish is traditionally prepared using chicken, however jerk tofu tastes just as great! If you are a fan of Chinese desserts you might try the hot or cold bean curd dessert found at many local dessert shops around town.

5. Nuts

almonds-484268_640 Nuts are an excellent source of protein and can be an excellent snack in between meals to help you to get your protein fix. Nuts are not just good sources of protein but also contain omega-3, essential vitamins and minerals. Walnuts are a great choice as they have large amounts of omega-3 while peanuts are great for your brain because they contain folate. Macadamia nuts are not as healthy because they are very high in fat and not as rich in protein. Brazil nuts are especially good for men’s health and help to fight prostate cancer.

Preparation Suggestions:
You should try to eat raw nuts and not the seasoned or roasted types as these are commonly full of chemicals, as well as large amounts of sodium and sugar. As a mid day snack you might wish to eat a nut mix or prepare your own trail mix adding raisins, pretzels and whatever else you fancy. You can also sprinkle nuts on top of desserts or grind them up to make a healthy raw chocolate cake.

6. Beans

beans-4785_640 Beans are a great way to get your needed dose of protein in your meal. We particularly recommend garbanzo, refried beans and lentils as these contain the highest amounts of protein levels. In addition to protein, beans provide an excellent complex carbohydrate source to substitute less healthy simple carbohydrates such as white breads and rice, which contain heightened levels of simple sugars.

Preparation Suggestions:
You can simply heat up beans straight from the can, or if you’re feeling ambitious try making a chilli, which is an excellent idea to keep warm in the winter months. If you like Mexican food you might consider making a burrito or quesadilla using refried beans.

7. Green Vegetables

salad-264826_640 Though green vegetables don’t pack as hard of a protein punch as other options like beans and nuts, certain ones do offer a substantial amount of protein. Broccoli, spinach and asparagus all offer 5 grams of protein per 200 gram serving. You might wish to take preference of these vegetables, if you are looking for a supplemental protein source.

Preparation Suggestions:
Green vegetables can be a great side dish to any meal, try preparing them steamed to lessen the grease content. If you do fry, use coconut or olive oil as these are much healthier than corn oil. You can also add spinach into an omelette to make it extra protein filled.

8. Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)

cocoa-174872_640 Did you really need another excuse to eat chocolate? Well now you have one! Other than being delicious, cocoa powder is also a great protein source. Each tablespoon contains one gram of protein. So go ahead, indulge.

Preparation Suggestions:
You can use cocoa powder in just about anything you would like to be chocolate flavoured. A healthy option would be to mix a couple tablespoons into a smoothie with delicious fruits of your preference for sweetener. Add some soymilk into the batch to up the protein level! This works great as an after workout recovery fuel.

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