Whether you attend our group fitness classes or lift weights on your own, protein intake plays an important role in recovery after a workout. Protein also provides several other benefits such as improved bone health, increased muscle mass, boosted metabolism and controlled cravings. Meat is the most common food source that one can get protein. However, there are also several ways to get protein on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Yes! Vegetables DO have protein in them. Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, peas, and potatoes are all protein-rich vegetables. They contain about 4-5 grams of protein per one cooked cup. This way you can get in your greens and your protein with one meal.
Beans are a staple in most vegetarian dishes because they are filling, contain high levels of protein and they’re delicious! Most varieties of beans have a high amount of protein per serving but the most popular are black beans, lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas (also known as the garbanzo bean). There are several ways to integrate beans in a dish, a personal favorite is chickpea by the sea which tastes exactly like a tuna salad.
Seeds and Butters
Every fitness fan loves peanut butter for its healthy fats and creamy flavor, but did you know that seeds and seed butter have high levels of protein? For example, one ounce of pumpkin seeds contains as much as 5 grams of protein. Additionally, chia seeds are a popular choice because they contain about 3.4 grams of protein per two tablespoons! You can throw these into yogurt, juice, smoothies, or just about anything since they have little to no flavor. And if you don’t want to part with your peanut butter, try a peanut butter powder that gives you more protein per calorie.
Nutritional yeast is an ingredient that can be found in a ton of vegetarian and vegan meals. It is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast and is sold as a yellow powder. It has a cheesy flavor which is a huge bonus for any meal. Two tablespoons of this stuff has about 8 grams of protein along with iron, and B vitamins.
Plant-based Protein Supplements
If you aren’t a huge foodie or a picky eater, purchasing a plant-based protein supplement might be your best option. Many supplement brands make non-whey, plant-based protein powders that can be used post-workout or as a meal replacement. One scoop of a plant-based protein can have as much as 20 grams of protein. Mix your supplement with soy or oat milk for an extra protein boost.