Top 25 Vegetarian Protein Sources

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Which is the Best Protein source for Muscle Building and Fat Loss? Protein Sources Ranked from Worst to Best.

Protein is one of the most essential macro nutrients for the proper functioning of the human body. A person who does not workout, has a sedentary lifestyle still needs about 50–60 grams of protein on a daily basis. And if your goal is to build muscle, you need much more. But are you consuming an appropriate amount of protein? More importantly, what sources are you getting that protein from? Are they really serving the purpose? Let us find out

What Protein Source / Why Needed Protein ?

Protein is a nutrient your body needs to grow and repair cells and to work properly. Protein is found in a wide range of food and it’s important that you get enough protein in your diet every day. How much protein you need from your diet varies depending on your weight, gender, age and health.  

Protein is an essential part of our diet. An average person who has a sedentary lifestyle, even his/her body requires about 1 gram of protein per kg body weight on a daily basis. For example, if a person who weighs 60 kg and he/she does not workout, even then his/her body requires about 60 grams of protein daily.

Protein is very essential for the daily repair of the body, skin health and hair health. Eating enough protein not only helps to build and maintain muscle but it also helps in reducing the junk food cravings. Eating a protein deficient diet may reduce metabolism and energy levels. Some protein sources are incomplete while others are incomplete.

A protein source which has all the 9 essential amino acids viz. histidine,isoleucine,leucin, lysine, methoinine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine is said to be complete. Most vegetarian sources are incomplete. Howevever, there is a way to make vegetarian sources complete which I have discussed in this article. So, I have identified 10 cheap and best protein rich food sources and have ranked them solely on the basis of cost effectiveness. You will be surprised to know that there are a few protein rich foods from which you can get 25 grams of protein in just 10 rupees. How great is that?

Meeting your protein needs is easily achieved from eating a variety of foods. Protein from food comes from plant and animal sources such as meat and fish, eggs, dairy products, seeds and nuts, and legumes like beans and lentils. 
Vegetarian – Tofu , Paneer , Legumes , Milk, Peanuts , Lentils , Whey Protein , Nuts , Soy Chunks
Non Vegetarian – Fish, Chicken Breast, Egg Whites

Proteins are made of amino acids

Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are about 20 different amino acids that link together in different combinations. Your body uses them to make new proteins, such as muscle and bone, and other compounds such as enzymes and hormones. It can also use them as an energy source. 

Some amino acids can be made by your body – there are 11 of these and they’re known as non-essential amino acids. There are nine amino acids that your body cannot make, and they are known as essential amino acids. You need to include enough of these in your diet so that your body can function.

How much proteins do vegetarians need? 

People often think that being a vegetarian or vegan means that it can be hard to get enough protein. Not true! There are many vegetarian sources of protein. Low-fat cheese, yogurt and milk are good animal protein sources. Vegans can enjoy beans, lentils, dried peas, tofu, nuts and seeds. Vegetables and grain products all contain small amounts of protein too. 

Vegetarian diets have been linked to lower risk for obesity, heart disease and some types of cancer.   Even if you’re not a vegetarian try having a meal centred on plant sources of protein at least once a week.

Nutritional value of protein

The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains.

Different foods contain different amounts of essential amino acids. Generally:

  • Animal products (such as chicken, beef or fish and dairy products) have all of the essential amino acids and are known as ‘complete’ protein (or ideal or high-quality protein).
  • Soy products, quinoa and the seed of a leafy green called amaranth (consumed in Asia and the Mediterranean) also have all of the essential amino acids.
  • Plant proteins (beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains) usually lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.

People following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose a variety of protein sources from a combination of plant foods every day to make sure they get an adequate mix of essential amino acids. 

If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually get the protein you need. For example, a meal containing cereals and legumes, such as baked beans on toast, provides all the essential amino acids found in a typical meat dish.

Vegetarian Protein Sources

  1. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame
  2. Lentils
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Peanuts
  5. Almonds
  6. Spirulina
  7. Quinoa
  8. Mycoprotein
  9. Chia seeds
  10. Hemp seeds
  11. Amaranth and Quinoa
  12. Nutritional Yeast
  13. Green Peas
  14. Beans with rice
  15. Potatoes
  16. Seitan
  17. Ezekiel bread
  18. Nutritional Yeast
  19. Spirulina
  20. Soy Milk
  21. Soya Chunks
  22. Curd
  23. Oats and Oatmeal
  24. Wild Rice
  25. Chia Seeds
  26. Nuts, Nut Butters and Other Seeds

Sources

1Tofu, tempeh, and edamame :- Soy products are among the richest sources of protein in a plant-based diet. Tempeh It’s made from partially cooked soybeans and fermented with a type of mold called rhizopus. Edamame

What is Tofu?
Tofu is a soybean product. it’s made from the curds of soy-milk (so it’s kind of similar to cheese, just using soy milk as a base rather than milk). Those curds are pressed into blocks and can be made into different textures — soft, firm and extra-firm. It has a neutral flavor, making it a versatile ingredient in a variety of cuisines.

What Is Tempeh?
People in Indonesia started making this nutty-tasting bean cake hundreds of years ago. It’s made from partially cooked soybeans and fermented with a type of mold called rhizopus. If you look closely, you’ll notice a fuzzy white substance holding tempeh together. That’s a safe byproduct of the fungus, called mycelium.

What is Edamame?
Edamame or edamame bean is a preparation of immature soybeans in the pod, which commonly are found in the cuisines of Japan, China, and Hawaii. The folks at Twin Garden Farms talk about growing this interesting soybean.
Edamame are often served steamed and sprinkled with salt. You do not eat the shell, and the beans have pea/bean quality about them. You can find edamame served in many Asian restaurants and more specifically sushi restaurants

Soy Tofu Nutrition Facts

  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Manganese: 31% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 20% of the RDI
  • Selenium: 14% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
  • Copper: 11% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 9% of the RDI
  • Iron: 9% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 6% of the RDI

Tempeh Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 140
  • Protein: 16 grams
  • Carbs: 10 grams
  • Fiber: 28%
  • Fat: 5 grams (2 grams of saturated, 2 grams of polyunsaturated, and 1 gram of monounsaturated)
  • Calcium: 6%
  • Iron: 10%

Edamame Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 120
  • Protein: 11 grams
  • Carbs: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 9 grams
  • Fat: 2.5 – (1.5 grams polyunsaturated fat,0.3 grams plant omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Vitamin A: 8%
  • Vitamin C: 10%
  • Iron: 10%
  • Calcium: 4%

Is Soy Safe?

In the United States as well as many other countries, intake recommendations exist for a variety of food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains. No such recommendation exists for soyfoods. The Chinese government recommends
consuming at least 50 g of soyfoods daily as one step toward meeting nutrient needs. However, this recommendation does not consider the potential health benefits of soyfoods independent of nutrient content.

Now that you know what exactly tofu is and how it is made the real question is, is it healthy?

A few years ago, early animal studies created some bad publicity for soy foods by claiming the estrogen-like compounds found in soy may raise the risk of hormone related cancers. Other rumours declared that men who ate soy foods would develop boobs. Yes, I said it – man boobs!

However, it should be noted that soy supplements may contain a concentrated source of plant estrogens than found in natural whole foods and until more information is available women are being advised to avoid soy supplements (eg. soy products in concentrated or pill form).

Benefits

A Diet That Contains A Variety Of Plant-based Foods Appears To Contribute To Overall Health And Wellbeing, And A Lower Risk Of Conditions Such As Obesity, Diabetes, And Heart Disease.
It can enhance the skin and hair, boost energy, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Research has linked tofu, with its high levels of isoflavones, to a lower risk of several age- and lifestyle-related diseases.

If a chop is too thin, by the time you’ve seared both sides, the thing is practically overcooked! Choosing a thick chop allows you to get a nice golden sear on both sides and a perfectly cooked tender center.

Summary

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are all derived from whole soybeans and excellent sources of complete protein. A 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of edamame or tofu provides 8 grams of protein, while the same serving of tempeh has 11 grams.

2Brown, Red, Green, Black  Lentils :- Lentils are mini-sized legumes that pack a mighty dose of nutrition! Each serving contains protein, fiber, and minerals. Here’s a guide to the different types of lentils and how they vary in taste, texture, and uses.
Lentils are relatively quick and easy to prepare, and their low cost makes them an accessible form of high quality protein for many people around the world.

Brown Lentils
Brown lentils are the most common and mostly hold their shape while cooking. They can range in color from khaki-brown to dark black, and generally have a mild, earthy flavor. Common varieties are Spanish Brown, German Brown, or Indian Brown. The blackest and tiniest lentils you find are usually Beluga lentils, which have a rich and deeply earthy flavor.

  • Cook Time: about 20 to 30 minutes

Red Lentils
The lentil is an edible legume. It is an annual plant known for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 40 cm tall, and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each. As a food crop, the majority of world production comes from Canada and India, producing 58% combined of the world total.

  • Cook Time: about 10 to 15 minutes

Green Lentils
Green lentils are larger and similar to brown lentils. They appear pale greenish-brown, like dried peas, or spotted with brown hues, too. They keep relatively firm and have a mild flavor.

  • Cook Time: about 10 to 20 minutes

Puy Lentils
These come from the French region Le Puy. They’re similar in color but about one-third of the size of green lentils and have a peppery taste.

  • Cook Time: about 20 to 40 minutes

Black Lentils (Vigna mungo)
Vigna mungo, the black gram, urad bean, minapa pappu, mungo bean or black matpe bean is a bean grown in the South Asia. Like its relative, the mung bean, it has been reclassified from the Phaseolus to the Vigna genus

  • Cook Time: about 25 to 30 minutes

Lentils Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 230
  • Carbs: 39.9 grams
  • Protein: 17.9 grams
  • Fat: 0.8 grams
  • Fiber: 15.6 grams
  • Thiamine: 22% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Niacin: 10% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 18% of the RDI
  • Folate: 90% of the RDI
  • Pantothenic acid: 13% of the RDI
  • Iron: 37% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 18% of the RDI
  • Phosphorous: 36% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 21% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 17% of the RDI
  • Copper: 25% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 49% of the RDI

Is Lentils Safe?

In the United States as well as many other countries, intake recommendations exist for a variety of food groups, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains. No such recommendation exists for soyfoods. The Chinese government recommends
consuming at least 50 g of soyfoods daily as one step toward meeting nutrient needs. However, this recommendation does not consider the potential health benefits of soyfoods independent of nutrient content.

Now that you know what exactly tofu is and how it is made the real question is, is it healthy?

A few years ago, early animal studies created some bad publicity for soy foods by claiming the estrogen-like compounds found in soy may raise the risk of hormone related cancers. Other rumours declared that men who ate soy foods would develop boobs. Yes, I said it – man boobs!

However, it should be noted that soy supplements may contain a concentrated source of plant estrogens than found in natural whole foods and until more information is available women are being advised to avoid soy supplements (eg. soy products in concentrated or pill form).

Benefits

A Diet That Contains A Variety Of Plant-based Foods Appears To Contribute To Overall Health And Wellbeing, And A Lower Risk Of Conditions Such As Obesity, Diabetes, And Heart Disease.
It can enhance the skin and hair, boost energy, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Research has linked tofu, with its high levels of isoflavones, to a lower risk of several age- and lifestyle-related diseases.

If a chop is too thin, by the time you’ve seared both sides, the thing is practically overcooked! Choosing a thick chop allows you to get a nice golden sear on both sides and a perfectly cooked tender center.

Summary

Lentils are an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They’re also a great source of plant-based protein and fiber.

3Add the potatoes to the bowl with the fish along with the bread crumbs, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and chile, season with salt, and lightly mash the potatoes with the other ingredients until evenly combine.

Form the mixture into six 3-inch-wide, 3⁄4-inch-thick patties. The meat should be completely white all the way through.

4In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the patties and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer the fish patties to a serving platter and serve while hot with mint chutney on the side.

Typically, bone-in pork chops are thicker than those with the bone removed. A thin pork chop is difficult to cook perfectly with this method, because of the hard sear you give both sides before it goes in the oven.

If a chop is too thin, by the time you’ve seared both sides, the thing is practically overcooked! Choosing a thick chop allows you to get a nice golden sear on both sides and a perfectly cooked tender center.

Video

Need some ideas for getting more vegetable protein in your diet?

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