If you are looking to add more protein into your diet without adding more meat, you might not be aware of some options. Proteins are the building blocks of your body. They help you grow and repair damaged tissue but they also help stabilize your blood sugar, reduce brain fog, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Protein also provides amino acids that are important for hormone balance, energy and mood regulation, and heart health. The recommended daily amount of protein is approximately 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. That means that the average male should eat about 56 grams per day and 46 grams per day for women. Although few people have a protein deficiency, if you are eating a vegetarian or vegan diet, you should be more aware of your protein levels. Signs of protein deficiency includes leg swelling, flaky skin, slow wound healing, and poor immune system. You may also find your hair and nails are brittle, and/or you experience increased hair loss.
Here are some lesser know sources of protein that might help increase your protein intake.
This legume is popular among vegetarians and vegans because it is very tasty. It is also very high in protein. One cup of cooked lentils contain 18grams of protein as well as vitamins C and D, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. You can add lentils to salads, used in place of pasta, served alongside eggs and added to soups.
If you are not eating yogurt on a regular bases, you are missing some great protein. Six ounces of yogurt contains about six to nine grams of protein. Yogurt is also loaded with probiotics, which can help boost your gut health. You can add yogurt to smoothies, fruit bowls, and baked goods.
Just one ounce of goat cheese contains seven grams of protein and because this cheese comes from goat’s milk, it is easier to digest than cow’s milk products. Add goat cheese to omelets, salads, and pizza.
Avocado is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids but what people do not often realize is that it has an even higher protein content. One cup of avocado provides five grams of protein. Add sliced avocado to salads, tacos, and meats. Use it as a spread on toast or mash it and add it to egg salad.
Quinoa is often mistaken as a pure carbohydrate when in fact it is full of protein. Once cup of cooked quinoa provides eight grams of protein. Unlike other plant-based proteins, quinoa is a “complete” protein containing all nine essential amino acids found in a complete protein. You can use quinoa is used as a substitute for pasta, rice, and couscous.
Chia seeds, like most seeds are high in protein. One ounce of dry chia seeds contains close to five grams of protein. Add chia seeds to smoothies, grain bowls, and salads. It is important to soak chia seeds for 30 minutes to get the most benefit from them.
One cup of cooked green peas contains close to nine grams of protein. Like quinoa, they are a “complete” protein and provide all the amino acids your body needs. You can eat peas on their own or added to salads and soups.
Similar to avocados, Guava is a fruit that has a high protein content. One cup of guava contains four grams of protein as well as vitamin C, potassium and phosphorus. You can add guava to salads, included in grain bowls, or eaten on their own.
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