Turning vegan or vegetarian has become a sought-after dietary choice. Turning vegan is often considered trouble in getting enough nutrients, like protein, as the diet is plant-based. But the good news is that it is a complete myth that vegans will be protein deficient. It is very easy to maintain the daily protein requirements. It is all about making selective choices and filling your plates with so many colorful veggie options, whole grains, and satisfying lentils.
Protein forms an important part of our diet. Protein is the main component for our muscles, functioning of the heart and brain, health of our skin, hair, and nails. In addition, proteins help build a strong immune system and regulate the body’s blood sugar levels, metabolism, and energy function.
When eaten, protein-rich foods break down into amino acids that are important in the body’s functioning. Therefore, you must include the amino acids in the diet to get the desired nutrition. The key is to combine various whole grains with vegetables and lentils like kidney beans with rice or tofu with sautéed veggies.
How Much Protein Is Needed By The Body
Protein is the building block of our body. It is responsible for making muscles, skin tissues, develop antibodies, and helping you stay strong. Usually, adults require around 0.35 grams of protein per pound of their weight per day. However, you will need more of it if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or an athlete.
Plant foods can also be a great source of protein. They are perfect for a vegan as they are free of dairy, meat, and eggs. Let us talk about some of the best vegan protein sources incorporated into the daily diet. It includes some classics like tofu and nuts and some foods like green peas and yeast to give a serious protein punch.
Soy protein is one of the most common plant-based protein sources that need to be in the daily diet. Food items like tofu, edamame, tempeh, and soy milk are the most common options that fulfill the daily requirements of protein in your diet. You can experiment with a stir-fry, including tempeh or tofu, steam some edamame, have it as an appetizer, or use soy milk with your breakfast cereals. Soybeans are a great source of protein. They provide all the necessary amino acids required by the body. The immature soybeans in the pod that come with a sweet and grassy taste are edamame. Steam them before consumption and add them to salads or soups to enrich the diet with proteins. Edamame is also rich in folate, fiber, and vitamin K. Tofu is prepared by pressing the bean curds together. It is similar to cottage cheese. It does not have much taste but can easily absorb the flavor of spices you add to the dish. Tempeh is made by slightly fermenting and cooking mature soybeans. It has a nutty flavor and is rich in probiotics, vitamins, magnesium, and phosphorus. You can add both tempeh and tofu to a variety of recipes.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are other rich sources of proteins. You can use them in various dishes or eaten as a snack to fulfill the protein and energy requirements of the body. Some of the best protein sources include sesame seeds converted to tahini or flax seeds eaten with your oatmeal or sprinkled onto your bread. Ground linseed and hemp are good sources of plant-based omega-3 fats. Seeds are a great protein option for people suffering from nut allergies because they provide about 3-5 g of protein per tablespoon.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts, etc., are all great protein sources. You get about 3g of protein if you eat 6-7 almonds or three whole walnuts. You consume about 4g of protein by having six Brazil nuts. Peanut butter and nut butter are yummy and easy to eat protein sources. One full tablespoon of peanut butter provides about 3g of protein.
Nutritional yeast has been termed as “Nooch” in the vegan community. It is an inactive yeast that is yellow, having a cheesy, umami taste. 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast will provide about 4 grams of protein. It is also a great source of vitamin B12. Add nutritional yeast to various sauces or salad dressings, mix it with a pasta dish, or sprinkle it on your movie night popcorn tub.
Brussels Sprouts And Green Vegetables
Green vegetables offer much more than vitamins and minerals. Veggies like Brussels sprouts, spinach, and green peas have a rich protein content needed in your daily diet. They also boast rich antioxidant properties, are low in calories, and full of fiber. Add the cooked spinach to a bowl of pasta; add the green peas in a vegetable curry or roast the Brussels sprouts and enjoy the crispy side. All these cooked vegetables will provide about 3-4 g of protein per half-cup.
Whole grains are the easiest to consume at any point in time, be it morning, breakfast, noon, or night. Whole grains add up that extra protein in your diet even though they are mistaken for just being a carbohydrate source. Many varieties of whole grains are a rich source of protein, coupled with high fiber content, minerals, and vitamins. Increase your daily grain intake by adding a bowl of oatmeal or a quinoa salad to your meal. The cooked grains will provide you with 5-8g of protein per 1 cup of intake. The richest source being quinoa which has 8 g of protein content in each cup.
It all boils down to having a balanced diet. Protein deficiencies in vegetarians or vegans can be a common problem, but these plant-based rich protein sources can be a great addition to the daily diet. These plant-based sources can easily be incorporated into the tastiest dishes and add up to the overall health.