There are different diets out there that people opt for. Some of them because they want to drop weight, while, on the other hand, there are some individuals that only want to change their eating lifestyle – going from unhealthy food to healthy diets. Whatever the reason might be, and whatever the diet is, what diets mostly consists of is eating more fruits and vegetables.
According to Medium, this is due to the reason as plants consist lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and this way they keep one healthy. Now, what we are here to discuss today is the vegetarian diet. There are plenty of reasons why people practice vegetarian diets. Some of them avoid the saturated fat in meat and also the antibiotics and hormones injected into livestock grown on factory farms. While, on the other hand, others become vegetarians because of religious, moral, environmental, and/or ethical motivations.
Don’t miss out: Does Going Vegetarian Help You Lose Weight?
According to WebMD, the term ‘vegetarian’ stands for different things to different people. Some people who simply do not eat red meat call themselves vegetarians. Others consume huge quantities of fruit and consider themselves fruitarians.
Below we are going to elaborate more on the vegetarian diet. The types of vegetarians and the protein sources are going to be the main discussion of this article.
Types Of Vegetarians
To begin with, we will define the terms vegetarian and vegan as a lot of people have some misconceptions of the two. Vegetarians eat a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables, dairy products and eggs. While, on the other hand, people who don’t eat eggs, dairy, or any other animal products, are called vegans.
While, other types of vegetarians include:
Lacto-ovo-vegetarians: In this type people eat both, dairy products and eggs. It is important to know that this is the most common type of vegetarian diet.
Lacto-vegetarians: Consume dairy products but not eggs.
Ovo vegetarians: Consume eggs but not dairy products.
Pescatarian: These diets exclude meat and poultry, dairy, and eggs, but allow fish.
Vegetarian Protein Sources
According to Mayo Clinic, when one decides to become a vegetarian then, the person needs to make sure to get most out of a vegetarian diet. They can easily do this by choosing a variety of healthy plant-based foods. Take, for instance, whole fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and whole grains. Also, one should cut back on less healthy choices. Sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juices, and refines grains – fall into the category of the less healthy choices. You can always seek advice from a registered dietitian to make a vegetarian plan.
Now, we all acknowledge the fact that meat is high in protein, however, being vegetarian leads to one not eating meat. So, there are other sources for you to take the proteins your body needs. We are going to list 10 main sources of protein according to Healthline.
For all the vegetarians and the vegans, know that Seitan is a really good protein source. Seitan is also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten. It contains about 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100grams.) Due to these components, it is considered to be the richest plant protein source.
There are a variety of recipes when it comes to cooking Seitan, whether pan-fry it, sauté or even grill it. Nevertheless, you should always keep in mind that Seitan should be avoided by people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Bonus: Seitan resembles meat when you cook it so, it is a win-win choice.
Lentils also are a great protein source for you as it consists of 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (240ml.) Some dishes that one can use Lentils in are fresh salads, hearty soups and also spice-infused dahls.
Bonus: If you eat lentils you should know that they are rich in folate, manganese, and iron. Also, they contain a good amount of antioxidants and other health-promoting plant compounds.
3. Chickpeas and Most Varieties of Beans
Something else that is known for consisting a lot of protein per serving is kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another legume with a high protein content.
Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml). They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and several beneficial plant compounds.
Bonus: According to studies, adding beans and other legumes in your diet, it will decrease cholesterol, help control blood sugar level, lower blood pressure and even reduce belly fat.
4. Spelt and Teff
Have you ever heard of ancient grains? Whether your answer is “No” o “Yes” then, Spelt and Teff belong to this category. Some other ancient grains include einkorn, barley, sorghum, and farro.
Spelt is a type of wheat and contains gluten, whereas teff originates from annual grass, which means it’s gluten-free.
Spelt and teff provide 10–11 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), making them higher in protein than other ancient grains (23, 24).
Bonus: Spelt and Teff are sources of various nutrients, including complex carbs, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. They also contain good amounts of B vitamins, zinc and selenium.
5. Green Peas
Except that green peas are good sources of protein, they also consist of iron, magnesium, phophorus, zing, copper, and several other B vitamins. They are often served as a side dish which consists of 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml), which is slightly more than a cup of mild.
6. Amaranth and Quinoa
Amaranth and Quinoa are often time referred to as ancient or gluten-free grains. Nevertheless, they don’t grow from grasses as other cereal grains do. Due to this, they are known as “pseudocereals.”
Amaranth and quinoa provide 8–9 grams of protein per cooked cup (240 ml) and are complete sources of protein, which is rare among grains and pseudocereals (41, 42).
Bonus: Amaranth and quinoa are good sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.
7. Soy Milk
Soy Milk is a well-known source of protein (7 grams of protein per cup) and not only as it also is the perfect source of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.
As Soy Milk, as well as soybeans, naturally don’t contain vitamin B12, it is recommended to pick a fortified variety. Getting Soy Milk is not difficult at all as you can easily find it in most of the supermarkets. Whether you consume it on its own or in a variety of cooking and baking recipes, that’s up to you.
8. Oats and Oatmeal
Oatmeal comes along with a lot of benefits, you can read about the main of the benefits here. Oatmeal might be one of the best ways, and also the most delicious one to add protein to any diet.
Half a cup (120 ml) of dry oats provides you with approximately 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. This portion also contains good amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate.
9. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala.
At 6 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per 1.25 ounces (35 grams), chia seeds definitely deserve their spot on this list (58).
Bonus: Chia seeds contain a good amount of iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and various other beneficial plant compounds.
10. Nuts, Nut Butters and Other Seed
Nuts, seeds and their derived products are great sources of protein. One ounce (28 grams) contains between 5–7 grams of protein, depending on the nut and seed variety.
Bonus: Nuts and seeds are also great sources of fiber and healthy fats, in addition to iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E and certain B vitamins. They also contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds.
Before you go: Benefits Of Vegetarian Diets That Will Make You Go Veggie