Vegetarians and vegans are often very concerned with getting in enough protein within their diet due to the lack of dairy, meat and fish. However, there are many
Vegan and vegetarian friendly sources of protein
There are 9 essential amino acids which cannot be synthesized by the body and so must be included in the diet and they are:
Unfortunately, unlike meat, diary and fish produce, it is very rare to find vegetarian sources that contain all of these amino acids.
This means that foods need to be paired together in order to get what is known as a ‘complete protein.’ Common pairings are rice and beans and nuts and grains. So here are the Vegetarian Sources Of Protein
Nuts and Seeds
Many nuts and seeds are packed full of protein as well as other vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts are all good sources.
As well as this there are linseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds and poppy seeds.
There are even some more unknown varieties such as hemp seeds which have 10 grams of protein per two tablespoons! Hemp seeds also contain significant amounts of magnesium, zinc, iron and calcium. Even better they’re full of healthy fats too.
As well as this are Chia seeds which contain 4 grams of protein per two tablespoons. Chia seeds are actually a very high source of omega 3 fatty acids while containing large amounts of fiber and antioxidants too.
Quinoa has 8 grams of protein per cooked one cup. While it may look like couscous it is completely gluten and wheat free which makes it perfect for specialist diets. It’s also a great source of fiber, iron, magnesium and be used as a great substitute for rice.
Rice and Beans
As previously stated, rice and beans consumed together make a complete protein while being very simple and easy to make. Beans are high in methionine and lysine while rice is the opposite thus making them the perfect couple. You can also substitute beans for lentils or chickpeas.
Ezekiel bread is the combination of wheat, barely, beans, lentils, millet and spelt. All of these are great, yet incomplete, vegetarian-friendly protein sources so when they are put together into bread form they make a complete protein that can be easily eaten on the go.
The bread is traditionally made using sprouted grains which can increase the fibre and vitamin content while providing benefits for your gut health and digestion. Ezekiel bread contains 8 grams of protein per two slices.
If you are not intolerant to this legume then soy can be a good replacement for meat in the diet. It is important not to consume it in high quantities however as it can have an affect on the hormones within your body by increasing your oestrogen levels.
Beans are generally not thought to be a complete protein but soy is an exception with 10 grams of protein per1/2 cup serving. It can also be found in many different forms such as edamame, tofu,tempeh and natto.
Tempeh and natto are both fermented which provides many advantages for their digestabilibty. When picking tofu it is important to note that the harder the tofu, the higher the protein content.