“But if you’re a vegetarian.. How do you get protein!?”
If you are a Vegetarian or a Vegan, I’m sure that you’ve heard this countless times from coworkers, friends and/or family members, and if not you’ve probably seen it in a meme online. The majority of the time, this simply comes from someone’s care and concern for your health, but it can certainly be an uncomfortable question to answer.
Obviously getting adequate amounts of protein (click here for my post on the important of this biological molecule) is more challenging while on a plant based diet, but even so with the tips and tricks found in this post, I’m sure you will be reaching your daily amounts without blinking an eye! You are making an incredible global impact by abstaining or lowering your consumption of meat products, helping the animals, the plant and your own health; these reasons making a little sacrifice totally worthwhile.
You can reach adequate amounts of protein without sacrificing taste or turning towards processed soy products!
So let’s get started!
Eat Whole Grains
Whole grains are grains that have not had their outer shell removed, and this one simple quality makes them far better for you! They have more fiber, and they also have more protein! If you compare a slice of white bread to a slice of my favourite Silvver Hills bread, there’s almost a 6 gram difference! This doesn’t just go for bread, as a number of other whole grains that also have a higher protein content.
Complete Your Proteins
By pairing something such as brown rice (whole grain) with black beans (bean/legume) you have acquired all the essential amino acids you need to have a complete protein! Better yet, quinoa and organic edamame or minimally processed tofu/tempeh are all complete proteins within themselves and can be added to a variety of recipes. If in each meal and snack you have some sort of a complete protein – you’re set!
Next time you prepare a salad, make a smoothie or have a bowl of oatmeal make sure to add some seeds to it! Chia seeds, for example, are relatively tasteless and make a great sneaky way to bump up your protein (5g per Tablespoon)! You can also use hemp, flax, even nuts like cashews, almonds, etc. for extra healthy fats! Personally, I always add chia seeds sprinkled on toast, drizzle peanut butter on my oatmeal and add nuts to my salads!
Get creative in the kitchen
Over the course of my year (& almost a half) of plant based eating has come some creative and sneaky methods of preparing foods to add more protein. I use protein powder as the flour in most of my baking recipes, add voluminous egg whites to smoothies and oatmeal, and sweeten most things with a stevia based protein powder (such as overnight oats and chia pudding). If you tolerate dairy, Greek yogurt is also one of my fave protein sources next to whole eggs or egg whites, and I love adding either feta or Parmesan cheese to my salads!
** If you are a Vegan, flax or chia eggs make great substitutes as well as the countless non-dairy yogurt and cheese alternatives on the market today!
Eat Your Greens
Did you know that per cup kale packs 2 grams of protein!? Spinach, broccoli and other green veggies also come with a great amount of protein, so I ensure that almost every meal or snack I eat has either a green veggie like kale or a handful of spinach blended up to amp up the staying power.
Overall it may take some trial and error, but the rewards of sticking to a plant based diet definitely make it all worthwhile! So stick with it and keep coming back to Mindfully Miranda for my protein-packed recipes and Plant based nutrition advice!
Wishing you above all Health & Happiness