People are often advised to amp up their protein content when trying to lose weight, it’s probably considered as one of the main nutrients that keeps appetite in check, burns more calories, boosts metabolism, keeps you full for longer so that you can consume fewer calories through the day. Chicken, fish, eggs, etc. are considered amazing sources of protein, but they are all non-vegetarian sources. And the biggest concern of people who are vegetarians – “how do I get enough protein?” if I am trying to lose weight? But according to experts, there are equally good plant-based protein sources that would help you trim the waistline and shed extra pounds. In this post, we list 12 protein-packed yet plant-based foods that can help you drop excess weight. Read on:
1. Sietan: Sietan is a popular meat substitute for vegans. It’s high in protein and low in carbs which makes it an excellent food for vegetarians. It’s also called wheat meat. It is exceptionally low in carbs since it is formed when all of the starch in wheat flour is washed away. Just one serve of sietan contains only 4 grams of carbs. Seitan is made completely from wheat gluten, the main protein here is wheat, so it is a nutritious form of protein for vegetarians and vegans. It can be used in baking too. It can be used in various forms in your cooking. You can also add it in Indian curries and can be eaten with roti/bread/rice as lunch-dinner.
2. Tofu: Tofu is made from soybeans with soybeans being one of the best sources of whole protein. It nourishes the body with all the essential amino acids. Tofu is made by grinding soybeans in water and by coagulating it with minerals or calcium salt. This curd that is formed is pressed and sold as tofu. It is similar to the process of making cheese. Tofu lacks flavour or taste but the best part is that absorbs flavour of the ingredients it is prepared with. It is similar to paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in taste, so you can prepare a variety of Indian dishes with tofu like spinach-tofu, tofu-green peas, tofu sub, tofu salad, grilled tofu with vegetables, baked tofu, tofu stir-fry with brown rice, Etc.
3. Chickpeas and beans: Most beans are rich in protein. Chickpea also known as garbanzo beans contains high amounts of protein which makes it eligible as a meat replacement. Beans and chickpeas contain approximately 15 grams of protein once cooked (per cup-240ml). They are also good source carbs, iron, fiber, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and other beneficial plant compounds. You can boil chickpeas and add them in your salad bowl or bake it with spices or simply make chickpea curry to eat along with brown bread, multi-grain roti or brown rice. Either way, they taste delicious and are filling and keep you satiated for long. According to studies, a diet rich in beans and other legumes can decrease bad cholesterol, help to regulate blood sugar levels, and lower blood pressure.
4. Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is only rich in protein, it can also control hunger and aid in weight loss. It is loaded with healthy fats and contain monosaturated fat which is beneficial for heart. Peanut butter contains potassium which lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It’s contains essential vitamins and antioxidants can make it a perfect snack for evenings. You can make a peanut butter sandwich with your favourite fruit like sliced apple/banana and your health game can speed up in no time!
5. Plant Whey Protein: Adding whey protein powder to your diet is the most easiest way to boost your protein intake. Most whey protein powders contains 24-25 gm of protein per scoop. It is highly beneficial for weight loss and is trusted by athletes and fitness enthusiasts around the world. It improves overall strength and helps to gain muscle mass. You can add protein powder to your oats meal, pancake batter, smoothies, baked stuff like cake batter or simply mix a scoop with water to make a refreshing health drink. The best part there is variety of flavours to choose from!
6. Lentils: Remember your grandma always made lentil soup or lentils with rice (khichdi) when you were unwell? Because lentils are actually a super food! Lentils are easy to digest and packed with goodness. They contain a decent amount of protein and are highly nutritious. You can make lentils soup with ghee tempering or simply make daal-rice with pickle and green chutney and your traditional Indian yet super healthy lunch is sorted!
7. Pumpkin seeds: Poor pumpkins are usually ignored and are unwanted (except for Halloween), but not only pumpkin, its seeds are massively loaded with nutrients! These seeds can help you improve your protein intake as just a handful of seeds contains 7 gm of protein. You can use pumpkin seeds in your cereal, home-made granola, overnight oatmeal, smoothies etc., to get your daily dose of protein and essential antioxidants. You can also eat pumpkin seeds as an evening snack along with other snacking foods like peanuts, almonds etc.
8. Green Pea: Green pea contains 9 gm of protein (per cup 240 ml) and contains more than 25% of your days fiber! It contain vitamin A, C, K, folate and manganese. Green peas are also high in iron, zinc, copper and other essential B vitamins. You can make tofu-pea (replica of traditional muttor-paneer) for lunch or pea soup to add some pea in your diet.
9. Almonds: It’s a nut that’s full of protein and antioxidants, so if you have been skipping almonds, please do not. It’s a good protein source for vegetarians as well as non-vegetarians.
10. Quinoa: This grain has a very low glycemic index and a good gluten-free option. Especially for people trying to lose weight, it helps that quinoa has high fiber and protein content, in fact, it is one of the best “plant-based” protein sources and that’s Rati Beauty diet programs extensively use quinoa in various weekly diets. It’s a super grain with metabolism-boosting enzyme called betaine and also lysine which is an amino acid which aids in fat burning. We just want you to ignore the calorie count of quinoa which is 222 calories per 100 gm because it definitely packs so much nutrition for the body in that count. It also has antioxidants and other essential minerals, and helps regulate blood sugar.
11. Chia Seeds: It’s considered as a superfood in the world of diet and nutrition, and that’s why Rati Beauty weight loss programs uses these wonder seeds extensively in their diet programs. These tiny seeds come packed with mega doses of nutrition. They are whole grains, an excellent source of protein, high quality fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium and magnesium, and iron among other nutrients. A true superfood indeed! What’s more, chia seeds are considered an excellent food option for those who are trying to lose weight. Not only do chia seeds have you covered nutritionally, the high fibre content keeps you full for long hours and helps you eat a better diet, which in turn helps with weight loss. Also, the high-protein content boosts the whole fat-burning process. With so much goodness, chia seeds seem like a must-have for people who want to and need to lose weight. But now you may be wondering how you can incorporate chia seeds into your daily diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Here are “15 Ways to Lose Weight with Chia Seeds.”
12. Oats: Along with high fiber content, oats also has a good amount of protein in it. There’s no doubt that oatmeal is one of the healthiest breakfast options out there since it is low in calories, rich in beta-glucan (a type of soluble fiber), protein, and a host of other essential trace minerals like copper, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium, folate, etc.
Hope you add the following food in your diet to level up your protein intake, till then; eat healthy, stay strong! For weight-loss friendly meals, do check out Rati Beauty Diet.