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Need protein?

You’ve decided to make a huge change in your diet and lifestyle, and have made the choice to no longer to eat living things (not judging you). A lot of vegetarians or vegans have a really hard time meeting their protein requirements for the day and as a result, their bodies can start to lose muscle mass, their immune systems weaken, and their bone health can suffer as well. Protein plays a key role in keeping the body healthy and balanced, and it’s not only related to muscle health. This article is pretty much going to be about how to get protein for vegetarians. So all my vegetarian or vegan friends reading this post, I’m going to help you out.

Many think that vegetarians cannot build perfectly sculpted bodies, nor are they able to build a muscular physique because protein is the building block for muscles. Meat, poultry and fish are not the only sources of protein that can provide you with muscle gains and surprisingly, not many people know that.

Well, for you vegetarians out there reading this article, you’re in luck. I’m telling you right now that if you choose not to eat meat in your diet, there are tons of different foods that you can eat to get high quality protein into your diet to build muscle, and keep your body performing at it’s physical peak. Some of the most aesthetic looking bodybuilders have built up an amazing body, all while being a vegetarian. So don’t you worry.

The vegetarians that I know generally supplement with protein powder to meet their daily protein needs. If you’re one of those who don’t find the taste of man-made protein powder appetizing, you can forget about consuming those supplements and eliminate them from your diet as long as you add the following foods to your daily meals:

1) Beans

The super food for vegetarians! Full of protein, carbs, and fiber. I believe that if you are a vegetarian/vegan, your diet should revolve around beans as your main protein source. Beans are some of the highest quality protein filled foods you can buy, and some beans even beat out meat protein in quality.  Beans such as soy beans,  lentils, chick peas, pinto, and kidney beans come to mind and are a great replacement for that sirloin and provide high quality protein, without the extra fat and cholesterol.  There are dozens of different beans that you can consume which will keep your diet high in protein and keep you from getting bored!

2) Nuts

Where do I start with this? Nuts are an amazing source of protein and healthy fats. If you aren’t eating nuts as a part of your diet, you need to start. A handful of nuts can provide you with as much as 20-30 grams of protein (depending on the nut). Nuts like peanuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts are a great additive to your salads or just as a snack (note that I’ve only listed a few that come to mind).  But beware, along with high quality protein, nuts can also contain a high number of calories due to their natural fats and oils. Consume nuts based on your daily calorie requirements, but do not forget about them!

3) Seeds

Seeds are another great protein source for the vegetarians out there. You have sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds that you can easily sprinkle and add to any salad to make it a protein filled meal.

4) Dairy products

Now this is a touchy one. Many vegetarians continue to drink milk but there are also those who don’t. So if you are a vegetarian that thinks that milk is alright, ADD dairy products to your diet. Milk can provide as much as 8 grams of protein per cup and should be a staple in your diet if you’re looking for one of the highest quality protein that you can get. Yogurt is a great source of protein as well. If you know me, you’ll know that I love greek yogurt, it’s low in fat and very high in protein and is delicious with fruit. If you are a vegetarian that doesn’t consume milk, soy milk is another great protein alternative that can supply your body with the benefits.

5) Eggs

Egg protein. Just like milk, there are those who won’t eat these either because it is an animal by product.  But if you do consume eggs, you can ask any bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast how important eggs are. Egg whites are low in calories, contain no fat, and are very high in protein. Eggs rank up there with meat, poultry, and fish. Egg white from a single egg can provide as much as 6 grams of protein. Definitely one of the foods that you should be consuming on a daily basis for your protein needs.

6) Whole grain products

Whole grain products are another high source of protein and should be consumed. A LOT. Oats, whole wheat bread, brown rice, and quinoa are the top quality protein sources in this category that also provides carbohydrates to fuel your body. I cannot stress how important whole grain foods are to your diet, not only for protein but for body health as well.

Guys, if you are vegetarian, there should be no reason why you cannot get sufficient protein into your diet, unless of course you’re only consuming iceberg lettuce and carrots. Protein is in almost every food that you consume on a daily basis, even in some vegetables you might be consuming already such as broccoli, potatoes and peas.  Meat protein is not the only protein out there and consuming the foods listed above WILL help you build muscle and maintain normal body functions. It’s a fact. If you dread protein shakes, remember that its better to get it from whole foods rather than powdered forms.

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John

John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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