The best vegetarian sources of protein are those that form complete proteins together. A protein-rich diet is essential even if you aren’t an athlete or a fitness enthusiast. An adequate supply of protein is essential for maintaining your health and body. Undoubtedly, it’s a core element if you’re looking to build muscle and get fit. The average person requires anywhere between 0.8g to 2.2g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. As you can see, that number varies drastically based on age, body type, activity level, lifestyle habits, and physique goals.
Vegetarian proteins are incomplete sources of protein, this means they do not have all 9 essential amino acids that your body requires. These are found in animal-based products. However, with a healthy balanced diet, you can get all the required amino acids from vegetarian food sources.
The best vegetarian sources of protein tend to be expensive like soy milk. Instead of running in for an already complete source, you can find mix and match foods according to your taste to find the right balance.
Which are the Best vegetarian sources of protein?
When you consume a protein food source you do not necessarily absorb all the protein content. This means the 10g available in certain food you may only digest 6g. Without getting too far into the science, it is known as availability and digestibility of protein in food. This is represented as PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Scores). The chart below represents the same. The number 1 is the highest a food source can rank, showing almost 100% availability to digestibility.
|Grains, nuts, & seeds||1.0|
|Rice & peas||1.0|
|Legumes, nuts, & seeds||1.0|
There are now two issues at hand, acquiring the adequate amount of protein and ensuring you get all 9 essential amino acids. How do you climb this hurdle? Well, the answer is simple, eat foods that rank higher on the chart above. Grains combined with nuts and seeds make up a complete protein source and are easily digestible. On the other hand, if you prefer brown rice, add a generous serving of peas to the mix and whip up a rice bowl with mushrooms, baby corn and some carrots.
When it comes to getting the required protein content measured the following table shows you the protein, carbohydrate, and caloric value of the best vegetarian sources of protein.
|Protein Source||Protein per 100g||Carbs per 100g||Calories|
|Seitan (gluten steak)||30||4||130|
These are the main foods you should include in your diet. Paneer, chickpeas, and rice are a scrumptious combination that gives you all the necessary nutrients.
Remember, some vegetarians eat eggs (eggetarians) and eggs are a complete source of protein. You can have one egg yolk with 6 egg whites to kickstart your morning. That’s not all, not only will you get the amino acids but eggs keep you fuller for longer, which helps you avoid snacking.
Consider making a stew with tofu or legumes of your choice, add some yogurt to your evening snack plan to get another complete source of protein. Keep in mind, that you can pair a carb-heavy protein source with a one that doesn’t have many carbs. You can also include whole-wheat and multigrain bread. Once you have a solid base of proteins you can add a carb of your choice.
Is there a simpler way to get the required nutrition?
If memorizing food combinations isn’t for you then there is a simpler way. Protein supplements can help you get the required nutrition. Based on your goals you can choose a supplement that offers anything from 8g per serving to 26g per serving. Additionally, some protein supplements come with BCAAs that support recovery and prevent muscle loss. To make it simpler, here are some of the types of protein you can choose from.
- Whey isolate
- Pea protein
- Hemp protein
- Egg white protein
- Soy protein
- Mixed protein
If you are lactose intolerant or vegan they whey protein may not be an option for you. In such a case, your best bet is finding a pea protein powder or soy protein to meet your needs. A mixed protein supplement can be ideal as it ensures you get all 9 amino acids. So, take a look at some plant-based protein supplements and best vegan protein supplements available.
Here is a list of products that are considered the best vegetarian sources of protein supplements
3. Flex Protein
Ahem!!! plant-based foods offer you all that your body requires in terms of nutritional content. Research indicates that people shifting to a vegetarian lifestyle have to carefully plan out their diet. This makes them mindful of eating habits and leads to better food choices. Vegetarians also put themselves at reduced risks of diseases such as ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.
If your goal is to build muscle or get fit to consider adding supplements to your daily routine. When going veg or vegan remember to check in with your doctor or health professional as well as pay attention to portion sizes.