Vegetarian-Friendly Protein Options

By Kate Wilke

As a vegetarian who loves to be active, I have found it burdensome to worry so much about protein. I lift weights and realize I am not consuming enough protein to benefit from my workout. Jessica Bennett, a registered dietitian at Vanderbilt Nutrition Clinic, offered her advice on protein powders, vegetarian foods with high protein, and easy protein-packed snacks to prepare.

Bennett principally recommends eating whole foods versus drinking supplements. “Eating whole foods helps a person stay full longer and can offer more variety in the diet,” said Bennett. If you feel there is still not enough protein in your diet in comparison to the intensity of your workout, a protein shake can be a good supplement. “Whey [protein] is neither better nor worse than a plant-based protein powder from a nutritional standpoint,” explained Bennett. “Preference is the key when deciding on a protein powder.” Bennett mentioned plant-based proteins are typically more expensive. However, according to Bennett, plant-based proteins are a good option if you want to avoid milk products, have a severe lactose allergy, or follow a vegan diet.

“Aim to get your protein from food sources rather than protein shakes,” said Bennett. To help with finding whole foods, Bennett lists high protein vegetarian foods:

  • Quinoa
  • Eggs
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Milk
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Edamame
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Bulgur
  • Tofu
  • Vegetable burgers
  • Avocado

Bennett includes easy vegetarian protein snacks:

  • Cheese and fruit on whole-wheat crackers
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheeses and fruit
  • Boiled eggs
  • Trail mix
  • Celery and peanut butter with almonds
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Protein or granola bar
  • Dried edamame
  • Dried peas

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Categories: Home, Your Nutrition

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