Easy Ways to Add Vegetarian Protein to Your Diet
Protein has become quite a buzzword with all these high protein diets that are in vogue. But what makes it so important?
First, the body uses protein for pretty much everything: it’s an important part of muscle, so if you’re working out, you You may need more protein than usual. Protein is also important for your bones, cartilage, skin and blood (even your skin and hair). More importantly, your body uses protein to make hormones and enzymes.
If you’re trying to lose weight, protein can help you feel fuller, longer, and can actually help boost your metabolism. In short, protein is a hard-working little nutrient – and some research suggests that we may not be getting enough of it ( (Especially if you’re a vegetarian or vegan).
So how can a person incorporate more protein into their daily diet? Protein powders can be a great place to start. But they’re not always ideal, and sometimes they can taste chalky and thick. And many nutritionists say that whole food nutrition is better anyway – so here are 8 easy ways you can get your daily! Consume more protein.
Change your cereal.
The first meal of the day should have some protein, and the average cereal, or toast doesn’t. Eggs take two minutes longer than pouring cereal, and each egg contains 7 grams of protein. Don’t like eggs? Try oatmeal. One cup has 6 grams of protein, and if you add 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds, you’re getting over 10 grams. Add in some fruit and honey, and you have a super healthy breakfast that will keep you full until lunchtime.
Choose your grains wisely
While many of us grew up eating nutrient-deficient white bread and white rice, it’s time for a change. Wild rice has twice the protein of white rice, and quinoa has over 8 grams of protein in one cup. Try mixing it up – cous cous is always delicious, and buckwheat pancakes have an earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with real maple syrup! .
Seeds and nuts are an easy alternative to mealtime snacks or eating on the go. In 100 grams, peanuts have 25 grams of protein, while almonds and pistachios have about 20 grams. Add sunflower or pumpkin seeds to dried berries for a tasty mix, or sprinkle hemp seeds on a salad for a Crunchy Taste.
Just one serving of Greek yogurt can add about 18 grams of protein to your day. There are also specially filtered milks that are even richer in protein. (Oh, and have you heard of quark milk?)
Beans are versatile and can be added to almost any recipe. Chickpeas contain 14 grams of protein per cup, or add a cup of lentils to any soup for an additional 28 grams of protein. Kidney beans, black beans, and even peas make a high-fiber, high-protein, delicious addition to pasta or salads.
Try adding healthy cheeses to your salad for an upgrade in flavor and an increase in protein. Who doesn’t love fresh mozzarella in a caprese salad, or some goat cheese mixed into a Greek salad? Crackers and Swiss crackers are a healthy snack in the car, or a hard crust bread with some cheddar cheese for a picnic. Even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can still have goat cheese and real buffalo mozzarella.
The secret to veganism is out. Nutritional yeast powder is delicious, and has 14 grams of protein in just one ounce! Sprinkle it on your popcorn for a (vegan) cheesy flavor, or add it to your favorite pesto recipe, or even! Add to your scrambled eggs.