Following A Meat-Free Diet? Here’s How to Get More Protein

If your diet is deficient in protein, you can experience muscle loss, risk of infections, and also skin, hair, and nail problems. To prevent protein deficiency, try adding these foods to your diet.

By Cookist
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If you’re vegetarian, then you know that getting enough protein requires a little more planning than if you were a meat-eater. Fortunately, there are a lot of plant-based options that provide you with protein, and some even contain all nine amino acids! Read on to find out how you can add delicious plant-based proteins to your meals!

Protein is essential in your diet. Your body needs it to repair tissue, make enzymes and hormones, and it’s also a building block for muscles, cartilage, and skin. If your diet is deficient in protein, you can experience muscle loss, risk of infections, and also skin, hair, and nail problems. To prevent protein deficiency, try adding these foods to your diet:

Soy products

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You probably already know that soybeans, tofu, and soy milk are great protein-packed options. But if you really want to make it count, then you should try tempeh. Half a cup of tempeh contributes 21 grams of protein, and also provides you with iron and calcium. It’s extremely versatile too. Sauté tempeh and use it in a chili or casserole, or bake it and use it in stir-fries.

Legumes

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Lentils, chickpeas, and beans are all part of the legume family. And they are absolutely essential in the vegetarian pantry. One cup of lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 50% of your recommended daily intake of fiber. Use lentils in salads, soups, and casseroles.

Chickpeas and most beans have about 15 grams of protein per cup. They also provide minerals (like iron, phosphorus, and potassium) and fiber. Legumes can easily be incorporated into casseroles, chilis, and even salads.

Nutritional Yeast

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If you’re vegan, then you probably eat a lot of nutritional yeast. Vegetarians don’t eat it that often, because most include cheese in their diet. This is where nutritional yeast comes in. It gives food that yummy cheesy flavor, without the cheese! But besides flavor, they also pack a punch of protein. It’s also known as a complete protein, providing you with all nine amino acids your body can’t produce itself. Sprinkle it on top of pasta, pizza, popcorn, or use it to make vegan cheese sauce.

Grains

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Although it’s technically a seed, quinoa is categorized as a whole grain. It’s considered a complete protein (which is rare for grains), with half a cup providing about 4 grams! It’s therefore a better choice when making veggie burgers or salads.

Oats are another great option to add more protein to your diet. Half a cup contains about 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. You can incorporate oats in your breakfasts (warm oatmeal or cold overnight oatmeal) or use it as a binding agent in veggie burgers.

If you eat rice on a regular basis, opt for wild rice over other long-grain varieties. One cup of cooked wild rice, contains about 7 grams of protein, and it will also contribute to your daily intake of fiber. Definitely a better option for vegetarians!

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