Protein: Our Vegetarian Guide

Now the figures vary widely depending on what statistics you’re looking at, but the fact is a fair number of you are vegetarian. In the previous two posts of the series, we told you to eat more protein and why its so important you have enough. What we are going to do now is tell you about some great vegetarian-friendly protein sources for when you don’t eat meat or just don’t like the taste (people are crazy, we know). We shall be focusing on the most popular vegetarian diet, which according to the Vegetarian Society is the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet.

Eggs

If you think back to your childhood, you might remember a movie or two where Silvester Stallone downs a blender full of raw eggs. It’s pretty bad ass (don’t go eating them raw) but there’s a good reason he’s having them. Eggs are absolutely packed full of high quality protein- a single large egg contains about 6g. Just be careful about the 5g of fat in the yolk. It’s fine to eat one or two but when you’re making a 7 egg omelette like us that fat seriously adds up! Sometimes it’s even a good idea to just use the egg white and throw away the yolk.

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Quinoa

Back when we were young we never even heard of a quinoa, let alone know what it was. Well it’s technically a cereal, although you cook it like pasta, and comes with a whole host of health benefits. To start, it has an incredible 14g of protein per 100g and contains all 9 essential amino acids. Its also gluten free, easy to digest, and high in fibre. So it’s pretty easy to see why people refer to quinoa as a superfood. So throw it in your salad and be safe knowing its not only tasty, its good for you too.

Chickpeas

With only 164kcal and 9g of protein in a 100g they are great for those of you trying to cut your calories and lose some fat. They are incredible versatile: for starters you can buy them tinned, dried or even get yourself a bag of chickpea flour. Not only that, they can be added to salads, fill out a curry or be made into hummus. On that point, if you’ve never eaten hummus, try it: it is amazing.

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Tofu

This particular item of food is probably top of the list for vegetarian-friendly protein. It can replace meat in a dish, is very low in calories (70kcal per 100g) and provides you with a whopping 8g of protein. To put that in other words, 45% of the calories are purely from protein. The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) accepted that 25g of soy protein, as found in tofu, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease. The only issue with tofu is the decision you have to make: there’s a huge amount of variety out there!

There’s a load more choices out there, though we hope this has shown you that even as a vegetarian you can still have a diet packed with high quality protein. Even if you are a meat eater, these are still some great foods to get into your diet and try out. If you are still struggling to get enough protein into your diet and want to know what protein shakes would make for a good supplement, check out our reviews here.

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Photos from Flickr: Robert Judge, sweetonveg and Brenda Gottsabend

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