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Up Your Protein Intake with These 11 Vegetarian Foods

Protein is undoubtedly an essential part of our diets, and it's important to ensure we're getting enough of it. There is a misconception that protein is majorly found in animal sources such as eggs and meat. This is far from the truth, and we have compiled a list of some food options rich in protein. Read on.

Collage of foods high in protein that are also vegetarian

Lentils

Various containers of lentils all on a dark wood background

Lentils are a great vegan source of protein. One cup of cooked lentils contains approximately 18 grams of protein, about 36% of the recommended daily value. Not to mention, they're also high in fiber and low in calories. It makes them a great option for those looking to lose weight or build muscle. However, ensure you don't overeat lentils, as they cause gas, cramping, and bloating. 

Dairy Products

Various dairy products including blocks of fresh cheese and milk on a wooden plank background

Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese are excellent protein sources. They're also a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health. A study showed that people who consume high amounts of dairy have a lower risk of osteoporosis.

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Chickpeas

Black bowl filled with fresh chickpeas on a dark wooden table

Also known as garbanzo beans, they are another excellent vegan source of protein. One cup of cooked chickpeas contains around 15 grams of protein, about 30% of the recommended daily value. Chickpeas are also high in fiber and low in calories, making them ideal for those looking to improve their health.

Tempeh 

Sliced tempeh and a block of tempeh on a dark brown cutting board

Tempeh is a soy-based product that's often used as a meat alternative in vegan and vegetarian dishes. Tempeh is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and phosphorus.

Quinoa

Black bowl filled to overflowing with quinoa with a brown wooden spoon in the center

Quinoa is becoming increasingly popular as a source of plant-based protein. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein, about 16% of the recommended daily value. Quinoa is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron and magnesium.

Seitan

sliced seitan grilled in a cast iron skillet and seasoned to perfection with fresh rosemary sprigs on top

Seitan is a soy-based product that's often used as a meat alternative in vegan and vegetarian dishes. It's made from wheat gluten and has a chewy texture similar to meat. One cup of seitan contains over 50 grams of protein—enough to meet your daily needs.

Nutritional Yeast

nutritional yeast in a measuring cup on a cutting board

Nutritional yeast is often used as a cheese substitute in vegan dishes. It has a nutty flavor that makes it perfect for use in sauces or as a topping on salads or other dishes. It is also rich in B vitamins, including B12—a nutrient often lacking in vegetarian and vegan diets.

Hemp Seeds

fresh hemp seeds in a dark brown wooden spoon

Hemp seeds are the hemp plant's seeds and are a great source of vegan protein. You can use these seeds in recipes such as energy bars or add them to smoothies for an extra protein boost. Hemp seeds are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and zinc.

Chia Seeds

chia seeds in a white bowl with a small wooden spoon shown scooping some out

Chia seeds are small, black seeds that come from the Salvia hispanica plant. They're often used as an ingredient in health foods like energy bars or as a topping on salads or other dishes. Also a good source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, you can use chia seeds in various recipes such as Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding.

Peanut Butter

glass jar filled with creamy peanut butter and a silver spoon scooping some out of the jar

We're sure you must have heard of this amazing food option. It's a great source of vegan protein, with one tablespoon containing 8 grams—about 16% of the recommended daily value. Peanut butter is also a good source of healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.

Spirulina

spoonful of spirulina

Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is often sold in powder or tablet form. It's a popular supplement among vegans and vegetarians due to its high protein content—one ounce (28 grams) contains about 8 grams of protein, which is about 16% of the recommended daily value. Spirulina is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron and magnesium.

Final Word

No matter what diet you follow, getting enough protein is essential for good health. This can sometimes be tricky for vegetarians and vegans. However, there are plenty of options for vegetarian and vegan foods that are high in protein content. The next time you want to increase your intake, try one (or all!) of the foods on this list!

The How to Home Team Signature

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