Contrary to what most people believe, meat is not the only source of protein. Whether you’re a vegetarian for religious, health or animal-welfare reasons, you can still get the required amount of proteins if you plan your diet well. Here are the top vegetarian sources of proteins:
Lentils (dals) are one of the main protein sources for Indian vegetarians. There are so many types of dals to choose from:
- Moong (yellow lentils)
- Masoor (red lentils)
- Tur (split pigeon pea)
- Chana (Bengal gram)
They are also excellent sources of fibre and also rich in iron, manganese and folate. The best thing about dals is that they can be consumed every day in different forms.
Also in the legume family (with peas and lentils) are beans. They are rich in protein, iron, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. Beans are also cholesterol-free and low in fat. Soybean, black bean and kidney bean are some of the best sources of proteins when it comes to beans.
Nuts like walnuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews are a great source of protein along with other minerals and vitamin E. They can be eaten plain or added to foods and desserts.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that has a nutty taste. It contains protein and fibre. You can have it like cereals, say in place of rice for a meal or just add cooked quinoa to cooked greens.
Manufactured from soymilk tofu is an excellent protein source. Like paneer, tofu can take on any texture and taste to suit your palate.
Spirulina is one of the best plant-based proteins available. It has a seaweed-flavour with hints of nuttiness which can be added to teas, smoothies or desserts.
Having a bowl of oats is the easiest way to add some protein to your daily diet. Half a cup of oats has ~ 12 g of protein.
Chia seeds contain protein along with iron, calcium, magnesium and selenium. They also have antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and other phytonutrients that are extremely beneficial. Since they don’t have a strong taste, chia seeds can be added to almost anything.
Vegetables and Fruits
The vegetables that have the most protein content are soy, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, sweet corn, and Brussels sprouts. Fruits with high protein content are cantaloupes, watermelons, apricots, etc.
So adding protein to your diet does not mean you have to eat meat. There are plenty of vegetarian protein sources that are quite delicious and also have various other health benefits as well.
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