While becoming a vegetarian can undoubtedly prove to be a great way to live a healthier lifestyle, those who don’t eat meat have to make sure they take in the proper nutrients and supplements to help their bodies function at their best, and that’s especially true when it comes to protein. The good news is that there are plenty of ways for vegetarians to ensure they get enough protein without going to drastic lengths.
Some of the best sources of protein can be grouped together as legumes like beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas. Because there are so many different types of beans, vegetarians are bound to find more than a few different kinds they like. And even better is the fact that beans are so inexpensive, which makes it more affordable to
get enough protein.
Take Popeye’s advice. Many might not realize just how healthy spinach is. Not only is it a great source of protein, but the vegetable is also packed with several vitamins, antioxidants and folate, which is good for the heart. Vegetarians, carnivores, pescatarians and everyone in between are much better off steaming spinach before eating it. That way, the body can better absorb all the nutrients and vitamins. Much like beans, there’s a lot of variety involved with spinach, meaning it can be quickly and easily added to a number of dishes.
Vegetables aren’t the only food that contains protein. Guava is a fruit dense with protein as well as fiber. It’s also touted for its low-calorie count and vitamin C content.
Grains are a classic source of protein, but one grain that’s the reigning champion when it comes to overall protein content is the super-grain known as quinoa. Besides quinoa, other grains that serve as a solid source of vital protein include barley and brown rice.
Vegetarians who want to feel full while getting their protein should turn their attention to artichokes. The vegetable is high in both protein and fiber and it tastes great either boiled and enjoyed by itself or added to pizza, bread or with goat cheese crumbles.
SEEDS, NUT BUTTERS AND NUTS
One surprising source of protein is nuts like peanuts and walnuts, along with sunflower and sesame seeds. There are also nut butters like peanut butter. One thing to bear in mind with nuts and seeds, though, is that they can have a high fat content, which means they’re best not used as a main source of protein.
A classic source of protein, eggs deserve a spot on the list. Much like beans, eggs are versatile and inexpensive. They also serve as a great way to get the body’s daily requirement of antioxidants, amino acids and iron. Even though egg whites are commonly praised for being healthier, egg yolks can help a person lose weight. It’s best to opt for organic eggs that are free of hormones, antibiotics and vaccines that can offset the eggs’ overall healthy content.
Vegetarians who can’t bring themselves to give up cheese and other foods that contain dairy to make the transition to being vegan can rejoice at the fact that some cheeses are a great source of protein. For instance, Gruyère cheese actually has more protein than eggs, and when combined they’re great for getting vital nutrients.
Greek yogurt serves double duty as a good source of protein as well as a great way to lose weight. Not only that, but Greek yogurt contains good gut bacteria, which helps promote overall better gastrointestinal health as well as a strengthened immune system. To get the most out of yogurt without any negative health effects, vegetarians should be sure to check and see that the yogurts they choose don’t contain a lot of sugar.
There are plenty of nonmeat sources of protein everyone should know about no matter their diet. Not only are these foods healthy, they’re tasty as well.