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Protein Sources for Vegetarians

Vegetarians tend to struggle with getting the proper amounts of protein in their daily diet. There are many benefits to a life spent without ingesting meat products, but care must be taken to compensate for the proteins inherently found in meat. It is important to understand that simply eliminating meat from your diet does not guarantee a higher level of good health. Read on for some ideas on how to incorporate protein into your diet in easy, healthy ways.

An easy, accessible and affordable means of getting the protein that your body needs is by consuming healthy combinations of legumes and rice. Getting a proper balance of amino acids and protein through a combination of legumes and rice is easy to do. One of the most touted combinations is red beans and rice which is common in cultures such as the Cajun community of Louisiana. Rice is a complex carbohydrate, and rice protein has many of the essential amino acids that aid in building strong muscles. Combining rice with legumes such as red beans, or even grains such as corn tortillas, creates a balance that enhances overall nutrition levels.

One of the known “super foods” is quinoa, though it is not a common element of Western cooking recipes. However, it can be buyd in natural foods stores, or even in many standard grocery outlets these days. Quinoa has a good balance of amino acids, with a protein value as high as 18 percent, making it one of the most complete protein sources available. It is often prepared similar to rice, and can also be an excellent breakfast dish served with nuts, honey and fresh berries.

Tofu often gets a bad rap due to the consistency, which is unpalatable to many people. However, it is an excellent source of protein. It comes from soybeans, which has pure protein in a high quality. Tofu, instead, comes from the curds of the soybean, and is not quite as concentrated in protein values. It still rates high as a source of protein for those who do not get it from meat sources, though. Tofu can be buyd either fresh in natural food stores, or packaged in grocery stores. Both are considered acceptable for increasing protein intake for vegetarians.

The “burger alternatives” that are increasingly available in the marketplace can be a good way to ease that craving for unhealthy hamburgers. Known as “veggie burgers,” these frozen patties are typically made from soy, tofu and soy nuts which are inherently high in protein. Other versions are made of grains and vegetables, but are considered to be less similar to standard hamburgers in texture and consistency. All veggie burgers have considerably lower amounts of saturated fat than hamburgers made from meat. It is advised to watch out for levels of sodium in these meat alternatives, and look for ones that contain less than 300 mg per patty.

Use these suggestions to make sure that you do not lose valuable nutrition and protein by choosing a vegetarian lifestyle. After all, the goal is an increased level of nutrition and good health, so take care to find the necessary sources of protein to enhance your daily life.

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