Managing Protein Intake On a Vegetarian Diet
It’s a common belief that vegetarians do not get adequate proteins in their diet. But the truth is that you don’t need to eat meat to get enough protein.
Read along to understand how to lose weight and maintain protein intake even though you are a vegetarian:
The reason behind this common misbelief is that meat is regarded as a complete protein. The term “complete protein” refers to a protein source that contains all 9 Essential Amino Acids- the building blocks of life that the body can’t produce on its own. These are called essential amino acids because we need to eat them to survive as ours body’s are incapable of synthesising them.
The problem with vegetarian protein is that it rarely contains all nine of these essential amino acids in roughly equal amounts. But this can easily be solved by combining them with other vegetarian protein sources to make a balanced and nutritious meal.
Below are good vegetarian protein sources along with combination suggestions to improve their protein value and make them ‘Complete’.
- Beans, Lentils and Legumes
Protein content: One cup of kidney beans contains about 13.4 grams of protein.
All beans, lentils, and peas are an excellent vegetarian and vegan source of protein, so eat whichever one you like.
Combine To Complete: Combine with cereals such as rice, wheat, or oats to make them a complete protein.
Protein Content: contains 8-10 grams per 1 cup serving, cooked
A food so healthy that NASA hopes we’ll grow it on interplanetary space flights. Full of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese, quinoa is a terrific substitute for rice and it’s versatile enough to make muffins, fritters, cookies, and breakfast casseroles.
Combine To Complete: Combine with legumes, beans and lentils for a complete nutritious meal.
Protein content: A half-cup of tofu contains 8-10 grams, and soy milk contains 7-8 grams of protein per cup.
Soy is probably the best plant source of protein as it is almost a complete protein. And there are so many delicious ways to eat soy, including tofu, soy milk and soy-based yogurt, soy burgers, and soy protein powdered drink mixes.
Combine To Complete: Combine with cereals such as rice, wheat, or oats.
- Nuts (all of them)
Protein content: Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains about 7-8 grams of protein.
Because most nuts and seeds are high in fat, you don’t want to make them your primary source of protein. But they’re great as a post-workout or occasional snack. Eat them at your convenience.
Combine to Complete: Combine with milk products to improve their protein quality.
- Milk and Milk Products
Protein Content: 1 glass of milk contains 8 grams of protein.
Milk is the only complete protein on this list- if you’re a vegetarian that enjoys milk products. Take heart in knowing they are a great source of complete protein and the only limiting factor is that you need to control their intake as they are high in saturated fats.
A special mention here is Paneer as it is a critical source for protein for Indians, derived from milk products. Paneer is especially important to Indians as it is a staple part of our diet and commonly available across the country. 1 cup of Paneer contains about 12-15 grams of protein, nearly double that of a cup of milk.
Combine to Complete: Milk, paneer and other milk products are already a complete protein- so add to taste, whatever your heart desires.
I hope this article was helpful answering the question on how to lose weight while following a vegetarian diet. To learn more about diet and nutrition planning get in touch with our experts here at mydietist.com