Vegetarians and vegans have lost count of the times they have asked us where we get protein from if we don’t eat meat and although, it is true that there is more knowledge about vegetarian food and plant-based products and their benefits in the body, there are still people who think that plant food does not provide the necessary amount of protein that we should take a day, something that is flatly false since it has been found that animal protein is perfectly substitutable for plant protein.
Before, when a person was looking to eat a high-protein diet, they almost immediately turned to meats. However, many of the meats that are eaten contain a large number of fats that are not healthy at all because they generate cholesterol that can lead us to develop cardiovascular diseases, while non-animal protein is much healthier because it does not have that type risk.
There are many vegetables, seeds, and cereals that contain large amounts of protein, this being the most recommended option for those who do not want to continue eating meat or want to reduce their consumption. Next, we show you some of these foods so you can make a complete menu with non-animal protein.
The Quinoa is one of the essential cereals in the vegan diet and this is considered a “super-grain” because it not only brings many proteins but has extraordinary health benefits. Quinoa is a good substitute for rice, being able to mix it with traditional dishes such as lentils, chickpeas, or salads, and being able to cook them also with vegetables and even prepare the famous Lebanese dish of tabouleh.
Mushrooms and champignons
Mushrooms and champignons are high in protein and also very low in fat. They are very nutritious foods that we can easily incorporate into our diet because they are easy to cook and have many combinations, you can add them in stews, in a pasta dish, with rice, on pizza, sautéed, scrambled, etc.
The soybean is a source of non – animal protein and higher quality than when the protein contains its 8 essential amino acids, they are more easily assimilated by the body and therefore more easily obtain all its properties. The biological quality of soybeans is 0.91, almost equal to 0.92 of beef. Also, soybeans are the richest legume in protein (37% of its dry weight).
This food has a lot of versatility to prepare it and the good thing is that you can find it in almost all supermarkets. You can use it to make “minced meat” for pasta, cannelloni, lasagna or you can make a dough and make vegan meatballs, nuggets, or hamburgers. In the same way, the soy pods that are so famous in Asia and that you probably know as Edamame, are very healthy and serve to complement dishes or even take them as snacks in snacks.
The tofu to the like soybeans, is a major source of protein and contains eight essential amino acids. It is a great source of iron, calcium, and minerals like magnesium and phosphorus.
Although it is true that tofu is more difficult to cook, mainly because it has to be marinated previously so that it has some flavor, it gives us a lot of versatility in food since we can use it as “meat” fillets accompanying it with vegetables, rice or potatoes and You can also make stews with it, nuggets, hamburgers and everything your imagination can conceive.
It contains approximately 24% of its total weight in protein, it is a very soft, digestive food and low in fat and calories. Although this product is more difficult to find in supermarkets than the two previous products, being more frequent to buy it in herbalists or to prepare it yourself at home, seitan is one of the favorite foods for vegetarians and vegans.
Combination of legumes and cereals
By combining legumes and cereals in your dishes we can obtain all the essential amino acids from protein. Also doing it with seeds such as chickpeas and chia seeds we can easily obtain all the necessary proteins that we must consume daily and thus have a complete protein-rich menu. Some of the dishes that you can prepare are lentils with rice, bean stew with rice, quinoa with lentils, lentil salad with quinoa, salad with chickpeas and quinoa, etc … There are many combinations, you will only have to see the foods that you like and always remember to combine legumes with cereals.
Example of a complete menu high in non-animal protein
Breakfast: To start the morning you can have a coffee or infusion of vegetable milk that is also rich in protein and an oatmeal porridge with fruits, chia seeds, and nuts. Chia seeds will give you most of the non-animal protein in this meal.