If you’ve chosen the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, know that getting enough protein can be a concern. You’ve given up major sources of protein with meat and dairy. However, you can find other sources to help you stay strong and healthy.
Why Your Body Needs Protein
Protein performs a lot of functions. It helps you feel full longer, and it helps build muscle. While those are two of the primary reasons to consume enough protein, there are many others.
- Protein builds strong bones
- Protein is necessary for healthy hair, nails and skin
- Cells are made up of protein
Nerve cells send messages to other cells about what to do. You need protein to be able to perform any task. This explains why it is so important to get enough protein in your diet. Fortunately, vegetarians and vegans have several options.
How to Get Protein
Beans and peas are good sources of protein. Chickpeas and split peas are two excellent options. Tofu is another way to get your daily requirement for protein. It can be used in so many ways that you should include it in your diet regularly. Add it to stir fry or on salad. Get silken tofu for a delicious smoothie.
Quinoa is one of the few sources of all the amino acids your body needs. It’s delicious in salads and other recipes, making it easy to add to your diet. Add raw pumpkin seeds to your salad and you’ll get nine grams of protein for a fourth of a cup.
If you’re vegetarian but not vegan, you can add eggs and dairy products to your diet to get enough protein each day. It’s easy to find plenty of protein sources besides meat if you like to get creative.