If you've been a vegetarian for more than five seconds, you've probably already heard everyone's favorite question: “But how will you get protein?” You probably roll your eyes and move on, but protein is a key nutrient that helps you build muscle, protects your brain's health, and that plays a key role in the health of a developing baby during pregnancy. You can't neglect protein in your dietary equations, but getting plenty of protein doesn't mean giving up your convictions. The key is to make sure you rely on “complete” protein sources that offer all nine essential amino acids.
Lentils and Beans
Lentils and beans are an easy, relatively low-calorie way to get enough protein. Lentils are higher in protein, boasting about 18g per serving, but beans' protein measure ranges from 12 to 14g, depending on the type of bean. You can incorporate these tasty morsels into just about any meal. Try cold beans or lentils on a salad, or warm them up and use them as a spread on your sandwich.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds remain one of the healthiest sources of protein you can eat, offering myriad health benefits including reduced risk of depression and Alzheimer's, cancer prevention, and a chance at a healthier body weight. Sprinkle them on a salad or in yogurt, or enjoy them on their own as a savory treat.
Tofu is the much-maligned vegetarian alternative to meat, but tofu packs a powerful nutritional punch, boasting 10 to 18g of protein per serving. Even better, though, it can be cooked in dozens of ways. Fried tofu, for example, can taste just like fried Chinese food. From tofu sausages to tofu fried chicken, there's a tofu option you'll like, if you're willing to give this incredible source of protein a chance.
If you're not a vegan, dairy products are one of the easiest, cheapest, and most reliable way to get the protein you need. Dairy is a nutritional powerhouse, with milk offering a mega-dose of calcium, and yogurt offering probiotics that can help you avoid some infections. Some eggs even now come fortified with omega-3s – important fatty acids that can help you avoid Alzheimer's and protect your brain heath for a lifetime.
Fruits and Vegetables
You can get protein from many fruit and vegetables; the challenge is getting enough protein. Surmount this obstacle by eating a wide variety of fresh foods each day. Broccoli, spinach, corn, and cantaloupe are especially high in protein. To get the biggest protein boost, though, try avocados. These delicious fruits offer more protein than most other plant-based foods. They're also a healthy source of fat and a superfood with the potential to control your weight, reduce your risk of cancer, protect your brain's health, and boost your cardiovascular health.
CATEGORIES: Protein, Healthy Food, Vegetarian