When we talk about healthy food and weight loss, the vegetarians amongst us feel left out. It's usually the protein talk that leaves them wondering. While low protein intake isn't an Earth shattering diet issue, it makes it harder to maintain weight since proteins help us build lean body mass. And lean muscle mass promotes fat metabolism, which is important for long term weight control. Today, we're taking a look at some of the best (and worst) protein sources for vegetarians.
Plain organic yoghurt – Don’t go for low fat yoghurt because of the added sugars. Go for plain yoghurt and add some fruits and nuts to it to liven it up. Greek yoghurt, if you can get your hands on it, is a great source of protein. Probiotic yoghurt is also a good idea for added benefits.
Tempeh vs. tofu – Tempeh is a fermented soy product, which is rich in isoflavones which are excellent for the heart. It’s chewy and delicious too. Tofu on the other hand is highly processed and brimming with poor quality modified proteins, sodium, chemicals, and starchy fillers. You are far better off eating paneer over Tofu only because it's far less processed, has a good amount of protein, and also has healthy fat.
Almond and almond butter – Most nuts and nut butters are good protein choices, but almond is that much better than peanut butter, because from all the nuts out there, peanuts are the least nutritious. When adding a handful of nuts to your salad for protein, go with almonds. Almond butter is less toxic and allergenic than peanut butter, although the protein amounts are similar by comparison (between 6 and 8 grams, usually)
Beans – Legumes and peanuts are a good source of proteins though they also contain a lot of starch. A bonus is that they add a lot of fiber to your diet too.
Whey protein – And finally, for the vegetarians out there, it all comes down to supplementing well. We don’t recommend supplementing if you get enough protein in your diet, since natural protein is the best protein. But if you are an active and fit vegetarian who works out a lot, it's best to go for whey protein shakes as a supplement to your regular diet. Natural whey protein powders are best and try not to go for other sources of protein supplements as far as possible.
If you are a vegetarian who is okay with eggs, then do make a conscious effort to make eggs a regular part of your diet. There are numerous ways to cook eggs that will mask the flavour (masala omelet anyone?) and it is the number one source of protein. Let the non-vegetarians have their fish and steak, you can still clock good protein intake with eggs.
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