Following vegetarian and vegan diets can be tricky when trying to ensure that you’re getting enough of the right types of food sources. High protein diets are very popular for those who want to lose weight and get in to shape. Our bodies are reliant on protein to repair muscles and cells and to boost our immunity. Protein is often associated with meat and fish, but did you know it is actually present in a number of other foods too? This means that you can enjoy a healthy protein intake if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. A balanced diet is essential for healthy living and self-care, so make sure you get the protein intake you need. Here’s a few tips to help you,
Protein sources for vegetarian and vegan diets
Tofu is an affordable and versatile source of protein and is often used in place of meat in vegan and vegetarian dishes. Tofu contains around 10-19g of protein per 100g, and is tasty when used in curries, stir fries or chilli con carne.
Edamame are soybeans which are still in the pod, They are a very popular choice of snack at the moment so you can find them in a number of shops. 100g of edamame contains roughly 11g of protein, and you can add them to soups, stir fries and any other dishes you fancy as a way of boosting your protein intake.
Quinoa isn’t like other types of grains and is a fantastic food source for those who are gluten intolerant, or as an alternative to pasta or cous cous. It’s also full of iron and fibre and has many benefits for your health. There’s a lot you can do with quinoa – from putting it in salads to baking it. As a rough guide, there is 9g of protein per 100g.
Products like peanut butter, cashew butter and nut better contain a lot of protein (around 8g per tablespoon). You can make it easily yourself at home or you can buy different varieties from shops – including those which contain healthy oils like coconut oil. The butter is great for using in Asian dishes, in smoothies and as a snack on toast or rice crackers and it’s always handy to keep some in your cupboard!
Almond, soy and other non-dairy milks
There is a range of great non-dairy milk available now which are perfect for use in cooking, with cereal, or in tea/coffee. A glass of soy or almond milk contains around 7g of protein and is a healthy, reduced fat alternative to standard cow’s milk if you’re looking for an easy switch.
Beans are excellent sources of protein, with a number of different varieties including pinto, black, kidney, white and more which are easily available in supermarkets ready to be eaten. Use beans to bulk up salads, pasta dishes and curries as a tasty and filling way to get your protein intake.
40g of dry oats contains approximately 6.75g of protein, and is a great way to add protein to your diet, either through your breakfast or added to smoothies, as an ingredient in cakes and as a crispy coating for vegetables and other foods instead of breadcrumbs.
Getting the protein you need is easy when you give it a bit of thought. Making sure you get it from a variety of sources is good for a varied and balanced diet, alongside a healthy intake of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. For help getting what you need from your diet, take a look at the NHS Choices’ guide for more information. Remember if you’re concerned about vegetarian and vegan diets, and the impact it might have on your health, you can make an appointment with your GP to help make sure you get the nutrients you need.