We had always heard that a vegetarian can’t fulfill his/her requirements of protein through diet. But here I’m sharing the vegetarian protein sources below:
1] Chickpea/ White Channa
They are low in calories with good amount of protein and fiber. Beyond the fiber content, chickpeas may also be good for bone health. they are rich in manganese, which helps build bones and is necessary for healthy bone structure.
The fiber in chickpeas has been shown to help reduce levels of “unhealthy” cholesterol and help regulate appetite and reduce food cravings.
Snack on them steam, toss them into salads (like tomato, onion, lettuce,cucumber with lemon-black pepper dressing) and add yummy hummus. The antioxidant lycopene, found in abundance in tomatoes, also works synergistically with chickpeas to reduce oxidative stress on bones.
Protein punch : 7.3 gm per 1/2 cup serving
2] Rajma/Kidney Beans
Rajma contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can help lower “unhealthy” cholesterol; insoluble fiber helps to promote good digestive health and bowel regularity. Also high in blood-building Iron, Phosphorus – a co factor in maintaining healthy bones and teeth- and Vitamin K, which helps protect the nervous system from free-radical damage.
Cooked rice and rajma make a complete protein meal. Add sauteed chopped onion, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes and season with chilli powder, fresh coriander, thyme, salt and black pepper to taste and to increase the nutritional benefits more.
Protein punch : 7.5 gm per 1/2 cup serving
Lentils of all types are extremely high in Molybdenum and Iron, making them an excellent source for helping to oxygenate the blood and aid the release of cellular energy. The insoluble fiber helps to keep the unhealthy cholesterol away.
Dried lentils are deficient in 2 essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. However, sprouting them increases their levels of all amino acids, including these 2, and produces a food that is a complete protein in its own right. Add sauteed chopped onion, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes and season with chilli powder, anar, fresh coriander, thyme, salt and black pepper to taste and to increase the nutritional benefits more.
Protein Punch : 9 gm per 1/2 cup serving
4] Butter Beans
Butter beans are good source of potassium, iron, copper, manganese and soluble fiber- all essential for a healthy cardiovascular system and digestive tract. They also contain molybdenum, which promotes liver health, and are high in tryptophan, an amino acid, and protein, which is necessary for body building and repairing tissue and muscle in the body.
Blitz cooked butter beans with sauteed onion and garlic and lemon juice in a blender. Gradually add extra virgin olive oil until the mix reaches a thick but smooth consistency. Season to taste and serve.
Protein Punch : 5.6 gm per 1/2 cup serving
5] Green Peas
While neither exotic nor rare, this naturally sweet legume has a nutrient content. Green peas are a very good source of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fiber, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus and folate. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, molybdenum, zinc, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium and choline.
Green peas are actually an outstanding phytonutrient source. Flavanols (including catechin and epicatechin), phenolic acids (including caffeic and ferulic acid), and carotenoids (including alpha- and beta-carotene).
Swap green peas into a salad bowl or try Matar Paneer or matar-paneer-veg kebab to boost your protein intake.
Protein Punch : 7 gm per 1 cup serving
6] Oats & Amaranth
Oats contain multiple nutrients and a gummy, water-soluble fiber, beta-glucan, which helps reduce unhealthy cholesterol and helps to prevent big spikes in blood sugar levels.
Oats deliver benefits whether eaten raw or cooked. Can be consumed either porridge or can make sprouted oats.
Amaranth are high in antioxidants, are used in medicinal cooking as a source of high-quality protein, cholesterol-lowering phytosterols and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
Amaranth flour are gluten-free but as own a bitter taste so can be mixed with other gluten-free flour like oats, soybean. Or can use the leaves as saag or can add sprouted amaranth grains to salads and sandwiches.
Protein Punch : 5–6 gm per 1 cup serving
7] Mixed Nuts
Some of the highest antioxidant levels of all plant foods are found in nuts. Nuts are also rich in fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals and benefits muscles and joints too.
Mixed nuts can be made by roasting few almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, hazel nuts and pistachio nuts together and consuming it handful along with roasted seeds as a healthy snack or can be added in porridge or milkshake/smoothie too.
Protein Punch : 6-7.3 gm per 2 Tbsp
8] Mixed Seeds
Though tiny, but seeds are packed with nutrients such as protein, fibre, iron, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids that help promote healthy skin and hair, remove toxins, balance hormones and supports cardiovascular health.
Sprouting seeds converts their starch to slow-release carbohydrates, releases enzymes that aid digestion, and makes their nutrients more bio-available.
Apart from trail-mix nuts, you can also add them to salads, raita, cereal, porridge, milkshake/smoothie or homemade granola.
Protein Punch : 5-7.3 gm per 2 Tbsp
9] Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is known as Paneer in India. It doesn’t only offer a lot of protein but it’s also packed with essential nutrients like vitamins B1, B3 and B6, as well as vitamin A, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper.
High in casein, a slow-digesting dairy protein, paneer also offers you a good amount of calcium, keeps you fuller for longer and helps burn more fat.
Cottage cheese is made by adding an acid (mostly lemon juice) to milk, which causes the milk to curdle. Then, the curd is drained and crumbled to make the final product.
Protein punch : 14 gm per 1/2 cup serving
10] Milk and Curd
Apart from being a rich source of protein, milk is rich in calcium and Vitamin D which helps the body burn calories more efficiently and also ensures good bone health, strong teeth, a healthy immune system and glowing skin.But one should opt for low-fat milk like toned, double-toned or skimmed milk.
Protein Punch : 8 gm per 1 cup serving
Curd/Yogurt have good bacteria in it which helps to turn organic acid into glucose, lower cholesterol, help metabolize nutrients, break-down enzymes, proteins and fibers in food and help kick start the immune system.
Protein Punch : 3.5–5 gm per 1 cup serving
11] Whey Protein Isolate
A whey protein isolate (often whey isolate) is a dietary supplement and food ingredient created by separating components from milk.
Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process. Whey isolates contain the higher percentage of pure protein and can be pure enough to be virtually lactose free, carbohydrate free, fat free and cholesterol free.
Whey isolates are highly bio-available, are very quickly absorbed into the body, and have a high concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and Glutamine which are highly concentrated in muscle tissue, and are used to fuel working muscles and stimulate protein synthesis.
Protein Punch : 25–26 gm per 1 serving
Quinoa is a complete source of protein and a good source of anti-inflammatory, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. A heart-healthy grain, it is known to reduce “unhealthy” cholesterol and contains high-levels of anti-oxidants.
Quinoa can be consumed either as a milk porridge or sprouted quinoa can also be made and used in salads and sandwiches.
Protein Punch : 4–6 gm per serving
High-Protein Vegetarian Diet Plan
Now let’s see how you can incorporate these vegetarian protein source to make a high-protein veg diet:
Early morning : 1.5 scoop Whey Isolate in water – Protein 37.5 gm
Breakfast : 2 Paneer-moong dal cheela with 1 cup lauki raita and 2 tsp roasted chana dal chutney – Protein 31.2 gm
Mid-Morning : 30 gm sprouts (incorporate some handful of nuts & seeds into it) – Protein 10–11 gm
Lunch: 50 gm Paneer salad with 2 oats-amaranth chapati, 1 cup low-fat curd and 1 cup seasonal veg – Protein 30.5 gm
Mid-Afternoon: 1 bowl oatmeal – Protein 19 gm
Evening : 1 Glass Milkshake/smoothie #[ add 1.5 gm whey isolate along with handful of nuts & seeds, 1 fruit in 250 ml low-fat milk/curd]– Protein 44 gm
Dinner : 30 gm Rajma salad with 1 oat-bran chapati and 75 gm paneer burji – Protein 24.5 gm