The best veg protein foods to include in your diet!

 

veg protein foods


Ever since our childhood, we have been told that protein is a key part of a healthy diet. It helps to build and repair our body’s tissues while driving metabolic reactions and maintaining pH and fluid balance. It also has a crucial role in keeping the immune system strong. In addition to these, protein is also responsible for transporting and storing nutrients and is deemed a powerful energy source. However, as a vegetarian, it can be quite tricky to get your daily quota of protein if you are not sure of the best veg protein foods that you can include in your daily diet. We, therefore, bring to you some of the best veg protein foods as well as vegan protein food that you can consider to ensure a sufficient protein intake. Read along to know about these best vegetarian as well as vegan protein foods:

Legumes

Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and black beans are excellent plant-based protein sources. They are also high in fiber and other essential nutrients. You can include them in soups, stews and salads or make delicious bean-based burgers and hummus. 

Tofu and Tempeh

Tofu and tempeh are soy-based products that are rich in protein. They are versatile vegan ingredients that can be stir-fried, grilled or added to curries and stews, as per your taste and preference (Estell, M., Hughes, J. and Grafenauer, S., 2021. Plant protein and plant-based meat alternatives: Consumer and nutrition professional attitudes and perceptions. Sustainability, 13(3), p.1478). Tofu is softer and takes on the flavors of the dish, while tempeh has a firmer texture and nutty taste. 

Seitan

Seitan, also known as wheat gluten, is a popular meat substitute for its chewy texture and high protein content. It is one of the best vegan protein food you may include in your regular diet. It is made from wheat gluten and can be used in various recipes, such as stir-fries, sandwiches and stews.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein source that contains all essential amino acids. It is also high in fiber and other nutrients. Quinoa can be used as a base for salads, served as a side dish or may also be used in place of rice in many recipes.

Nuts and Seeds 

Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds are all great sources of protein (Hargreaves, S.M., Raposo, A., Saraiva, A. and Zandonadi, R.P., 2021. Vegetarian diet: an overview through the perspective of quality of life domains. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(8), p.4067). They can be consumed as snacks, added to smoothies, sprinkled over salads or used as toppings for various dishes.

Greek Yogurt

If you consume dairy products, Greek yogurt is one of the best veg protein foods for you. It is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt and can be enjoyed on its own, added to smoothies or used as a topping for desserts.

Edamame

Edamame beans are young soybeans that are packed with protein and fiber. They can be boiled or steamed and enjoyed as a snack, added to salads, or used in stir-fries.

Chickpea and Lentil Pasta

Chickpea or lentil-based pasta is a great alternative to traditional wheat pasta, as it offers higher protein content. These are great veg protein foods and can be used in various pasta dishes and are suitable for gluten-free diets as well.

Vegetables

While vegetables are not as high in protein as other sources on this list, they still contribute to your overall protein intake. Some protein-rich vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus and peas.

Whole grains

Undoubtedly, whole grains are one of the best vegan protein food you must add to your regular diet. These include oats, brown rice and quinoa and each of these contains a good amount of protein. They may be enjoyed as a part of side dishes or main meals as well as in breakfast porridges.

Plant-based milk and yogurt

Include almond milk, soy milk or other plant-based milk alternatives in your vegan protein food options. These milk alternatives are fortified with proteins and offer a high protein boost. Similarly, plant-based yogurts made from soy, almond or coconut milk can be good sources of protein.

Vegan protein powders

If needed, you can also supplement your daily protein intake with vegan protein powders made from sources like pea protein, hemp protein or brown rice protein (Kurek, M.A. and Pratap-Singh, A., 2020. Plant-based (hemp, pea and rice) protein–maltodextrin combinations as wall material for spray-drying microencapsulation of hempseed (Cannabis sativa) oil. Foods, 9(11), p.1707). These can be added to smoothies or may also be used in baking recipes. 

Choline-rich foods

Consider adding different choline-rich foods to your vegan protein food options. Choline is crucial for the health of your nervous system, liver and brain. Our bodies produce choline in small amounts and therefore it is considered a vital nutrient that we must obtain from our day-to-day diet. It can be attained in small amounts from different fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes (Caudill, M.A., Obeid, R., Derbyshire, E., Bernhard, W., Lapid, K., Walker, S.J. and Zeisel, S.H., 2020. Building better babies: should choline supplementation be recommended for pregnant and lactating mothers? Literature overview and expert panel consensus. Gynecol. Obstet, 2, pp.149-161). Some of the best plant foods having a large amount of choline are quinoa, cauliflower and tofu. It is important to know that the daily choline requirements increase during pregnancy. Postmenopausal women and people who are heavy drinkers may also be at a higher risk of this deficiency. It is because of this reason that vegans who fall into one of these groups must ensure to consume an adequate amount of choline-rich foods. 


It is important to combine different veg protein foods in your diet throughout the day to ensure you get a variety of amino acids. Additionally, if you have specific dietary needs or restrictions, it is always a good idea to consult a dietitian or nutritionist for personalized guidance.









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