Being a vegetarian is not as complicated as people think. Cutting meat and seafood out of your diet is not difficult, especially when you recognise the wonderful world of natural foods and nutrition at your disposal. It’s really essential that vegetarians and vegans make up for the lack of protein their meat eating counterparts receive from meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. The good news is that there are plenty of plant based foods that offer just as much protein, if not more.
According to the American Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, women should consume approximately 46g of protein per day, while men should have 56g. Children between the ages of one and 13 should have between 13g and 34g, while teenage girls should have 46g and teenage boys should have 525.
These protein boosters are also suitable for vegans.
Spirulina is without doubt one of the best sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians and even has more protein than beef. It is made up of approximately 60% protein, so it’s almost all protein! 100g of spirulina has 57.47g of protein. Enough said!
Quinoa is a delicious and versatile addition to any meal that can be eaten cold or warm, as a salad or a main. This interesting grain holds more than 8g, almost 9g of protein per cup and it also has all of the nine amino acids the body needs but cannot produce on its own.
Just three tablespoons of hemp will deliver 10g of protein, which can be enjoyed in a smoothie or ground up and added to a pesto. You need to grind the seeds up to get the goodness from inside, which includes essential amino acids in addition to the great protein benefits.
A handful of almonds will give you up to 9g of protein, which can also be consumed as a delicious nut butter. You also have many other varieties of nuts, such as cashews, macadamias, peanuts, pistachios, walnuts, pecans and more, all with exceptional protein content. Eating them raw is your best bet for optimal nutrition, and they can also be ground up and added to various dishes.
Cooked and eaten on toast, in a Mexican meal or in a salad, beans are a vegetarian’s best friend. A cup of beans – kidney, broad, butter or your personal favourite – contains up to 15g of protein. A nice dose for those days when you’re feeling like you need a boost.
Sesame, sunflower, chia or poppy seeds; all of them deliver a nice package of protein and they can be enjoyed on their own, in salads, as additional crunch on top of baked meals or ground up in your morning smoothies. Sunflower seeds contain a lot of protein at 29g per cup; chia seeds don’t alter the flavour of your food and come in at a whopping 50g of protein per cup, while sesame and poppy seeds come in at about 22g per cup.
Chickpeas are also really high in protein and make for a great addition to curries, baked dishes, salads or can be enjoyed simply on their own with some fresh herbs, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A cup of chickpeas holds 15g of protein, much like her friend, the beans.
Lentils also stand in good stead for protein delivery, offering a decent 18g of protein per cup. Lentils are fabulous in baked dishes such as lasagne, or mixed with tomatoes and onions on top of spaghetti. Also great in curries and salads… pretty much any way you can think of.
Known as angel-food to many, avos are a great fruit source of protein – did you know avos were fruits? One avocado has about 3g of protein as well as a host of vitamins and minerals.
10. Green Peas
Another wonderful member of the legume family, green peas are versatile, tasty and packed with vegetarian protein that can be enjoyed in a number of different meals. A cup of green peas contains almost 8g of protein.
Any other you want to add to the list? Let us know about your favourites!