High Protein Vegetarian Diet
The flip side of the low carb diet is eating a high protein vegetarian diet. You can't just cut empty calories without replacing them with something better. Even if you’re not following any diet plan in particular, most vegetarians are concerned at one point or another with their protein intake.
It can seem like a challenge to maximize your protein proportions from plant sources alone without wrecking your weight loss efforts with a ton of grains but with the helpful info and the recipes featured on this page you’ll be well on your way to optimal health, inside and out.
Quick Protein Facts
- Protein is the MVP and VIP of nutrients. Protein is integral in your body’s processes. It’s essential for tissue growth and repair. It’s a key player in building bones and muscles, hair and nails. Proteins are used in your body to make skin, cartilage, enzymes, hormones, and blood. It also aids in digestion and just about every other process in your body. It is a nutrient superhero so you want to make sure you are ingesting enough of it and the right kinds of it to perform at your very best.
- You may hear some people referring to “complete” or “incomplete” proteins. A complete protein is a food that contains all 9 essential amino acids your body needs (and in the optimal proportions too). Making sure you are getting all the essential amino acids in your diet is important because our bodies do not produce them on their own. Most sources of complete proteins come from animal products however there are some vegetarian sources as well.
- Soybeans, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and hempseed are all complete proteins that you can add to your high protein vegetarian diet. In addition to these complete protein sources, you can combine the variety of incomplete proteins found in nearly every plant food in order to meet intake needs of essential amino acids.
USDA Recommended Daily Intake
- Female Adults (age 14+): 46g
- Male Adults (19+): 56g
- Male Teens (14-18): 52g
- Children (9-13): 34g
- Children (4-8): 19g
Beans and Greens
The combination of beans and greens is the best way to combine two superfoods into one super meal. (These meals are really fast to make using precooked beans so go ahead and do your soaking and precooking or used canned.)
- In large skillet heat a generous amount of olive oil or to taste. Add 4 cups of swiss chard (it will cook down), 3 cloves of minced garlic and a dash of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and let cook down for several minutes. When the greens are nice and softened but not completely wilted stir in 2 cups of navy beans. Leave in just long enough to warm since the beans are already cooked and tender. You can top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese. This is the perfect low calorie high protein meal. There are a total of 40 grams of protein in this dish.
- In large skillet heat a generous amount of olive oil or to taste. Add 4 cups of kale (with tough stems removed), 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, salt and pepper. Cover and let cook down for several minutes. When the greens are nice and softened but not completely wilted stir in 2 cups of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas). Add one small can of diced tomatoes and 1 tablespoon curry powder. Mix and serve hot. There are a total of 38 grams of protein in this dish.
- In large skillet heat a generous amount of olive oil or to taste. Add 4 cups of spinach, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon oregano, rosemary and time, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let cook for just a minute or two. When the greens are nice and softened but not completely wilted stir in 2 cups of lentils and a little splash of vegetable stock or water. You can top it with slices of red onion and toasted almonds. There are a total of 54 grams of protein in this dish.
For more recipes to try on your high protein vegetarian diet, visit:
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