Protein is a vital macronutrient like fats and carbohydrates. These macronutrients provide energy for the body, so it good to add vegetables high in protein in the diet. Protein is known for maintaining muscle mass and repairing tissues. Protein is all over our body; in our skin, bones, and every other body part. The amount of protein a person needs vary according to certain factors like age, weight, and daily activity level. A person needs 0.8 gms of protein per kilogram of body weight according to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Lack of protein may lead to muscle mass loss that may manifest in your body through fatigue and slow metabolism.
When you think of protein-rich foods, chicken and fish are probably the first things that come to your mind. But there are also protein-rich vegetables that you can count on if you are opting for a meat-free diet. This article will list seven protein-rich food for vegetarians that you could include in your daily meals to provide for your daily protein needs. Some of these vegetables high in protein may already be in your kitchen.
Lentils are part of the legumes family. Although some are still debating whether a legume is a vegetable or not, the legume is plant-based and protein-rich food for vegetarians. Lentils are lens-shaped seeds that are often olive green or black. A cup of boiled lentils contains approximately 17 grams of protein. Lentils are a good option for meeting your daily protein needs because it is affordable and readily available.
Watercress belongs to the Brassicaceae family and is cousins to broccoli and kale. From the name itself, watercress is an aquatic plant. It is a member of the leafy greens. It contains many nutrients like vitamin C and K. A cup of watercress has 0.8 grams of protein, an excellent addition to your protein-rich vegetable salad to hit your daily protein quota.
Edamame is sometimes called vegetable-type soybeans. Although plant-based, beans are an excellent protein source. Edamame beans are green, immature soybeans traditionally found in Asian cuisine but have now reached the Western countries. Edamame is good as a snack or a great addition to your soup and salad. A cup of edamame has around 18 grams of protein. Edamame is also a rich source of folate and vitamin K1.
4. Alfalfa Sprouts
The mature leaves of the alfalfa plant have a bitter taste. Hence, alfalfa sprouts are immature shoots of the plant. Alfalfa sprouts are the best source of vitamins and minerals and very low in calories. They are also vegetables high in protein. A cup of alfalfa sprouts has 1.3 grams of protein. It is also a good source of vitamin K, iron, and folate.
One should keep in mind that while alfalfa sprouts are nutritious, they can easily catch food-borne diseases. It is essential to cook them very well or grow them on your own to ensure the quality. Alfalfa sprouts very easily grow at home.
5. Pinto Beans
Pinto beans are popular in Mexican food. They are called “frijol pinto” in the Spanish language, which means “speckled bean.” Pinto beans are among the common beans. It is ideally consumed as a side dish or added to soups and burritos. A cup of boiled pinto beans carries about 15 grams of protein. It is good to consume cook dried pinto beans for more health benefits than the canned ones.
Asparagus is a perennial flowering plant packed with various nutrients. Aside from its protein content, asparagus is an excellent source of folate and vitamin A that helps with healthy eyes and skin. A cup of asparagus contains 4 grams of protein. This vegetable is also low in carbohydrates that makes it perfect for your healthy diet.
7. Green Peas
Green peas are sphere-shaped seeds that are derived from the Pisum sativum plant. Peas are a part of the human diet for thousands of years ago, and they are among the healthiest foods in the world. A cup of green peas contains 8.6 grams of protein, making it the best protein source for people in a vegetarian and vegan diet. If you want fiber-rich foods, then you can add green peas in your daily diet.