Weight loss. The Holy Grail for most of us. I mean, even if you lose those extra pounds, keeping that ideal weight can be a challenge. Keeping fit means getting enough protein–the building block for lean muscle and burning fat. And there are many foods that will deliver your protein quota. For vegetarians and vegans, this can be through fruits and veggies that can give you the same amount of protein as an egg, namely, 6 grams.
Also, protein keeps you full and prevents empty snacking. Tip: Start your day with a healthy breakfast that has enough protein!
Here are 10 easily available protein-packed vegan weight loss foods to include in your diet while getting the protein you need to lose weight.
1. Green peas
Just one cup equals 8 grams of protein which is roughly eight times the protein you’ll get from a cup of spinach with the added bonus of almost 100% of your daily vitamin C requirement. Your immune system will thank you!
There are limitless ways to enjoy your green peas: in your salad, in side-dishes, working it into the dough for bread, or just sauteed and seasoned with black mustard, onions, coriander–go on. Imagine your own recipes!
One of my favorite fruits and good news–diabetes-friendly! I was thrilled to learn a cup of the fruit has 4.2 grams of protein (yay!) in addition to 9 grams of fiber and just 112 calories. Also, 600% of your daily quota of vitamin C. What’s not to like?
Bite into it as it is in nature’s packaging, or slice and sprinkle your favorite seasoning, or add to salad.
Literally part of the daily Indian diet, lentils pack 18 g of protein per cup, which is 36% of your daily value. And just to give you perspective, one cup lentils equals the protein of three eggs and less than 1 gram of fat. Lentils are also high-fiber, all perfect for weight loss. Include four servings per week in your diet and be rewarded with not only weight loss, but also better cholesterol.
Enjoy as soup or cook and season for a delicious side-dish with vegetables . . . for extra points!
4. Pumpkin seeds
Half a cup has 8 grams of protein, which is 14% of your daily value. That’s 20% more protein than the egg. Also, Pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc–again, your immune system will be forever grateful.
Pumpkin seeds can be eaten as is, for a yummy snack or as topping on salads, with oatmeal and yogurt. Roast them for added flavor.
One cup of tomatoes gives you 6 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, three-fourths of your RDA of potassium (tissue repair and heart health) and 50% of your RDA of vitamin C, which keeps your DNA healthy, and vitamins A and K. Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants, particularly lycopene, which is excellent for protecting from various cancers (bladder, lung, prostate, skin, stomach) and coronary heart disease.
Tomatoes are versatile when it comes to including them in your diet. Eat as is, sun-dried, as pizza toppings, in salads and so on.
Consider chickpeas a superfood with 11 grams of protein in one cup. Nutrition rich with soluble fiber, chickpeas could very well be your weight loss BFF. By releasing a hormone called cholecystokinin, an appetite-suppressing hormone chickpeas keep you full and happy.
Use in a salad or enjoy hummus with a dash of lemon juice and olive oil; roast them for a yummy snack. Use as flour in baking. Or just boil, saute, season and slurrrp!
7. Mung beans
This versatile bean packs 24 grams of protein in just half a cup, delivering 43% of your daily value. Delicious, they are also high in potassium iron, and fiber. The good news is, they continue to retain their vitamin C even after boiled. So go stock up on these.
Boil and add to salad. Soak, sprout and eat raw in salad. Mung beans are almost all you can eat and tasty without the extra guilt-calories. Sprouted, they are low-GI and diabetes friendly.
8. Whole grain bread
I know what you are thinking–how does the carbohydrate-heavy bread qualify as high protein food? It does, when you use sprouted whole-grain flour. Two slices will have between 8 and 12 grams of protein. High in nutrition, the folate-rich lentils and grains along with seeds like barley and millet this multigrain bread makes an excellent snack or meal. Feel free to load it up with tomatoes or hummus or make a scrumptious sandwich with avocado, peppers, cucumbers, onions, spinach–you get the idea!
Nope, not your phone! The fruit! Blackberries have 2 grams of protein per cup. Rich in phytonutrients (important for blood clotting and bone health) and lutein, an antioxidant that promotes eye health, along with 8 grams of fiber per cup, blackberries are ideal weight loss food.
Enjoy raw, use as toppings for pancakes or greek yogurt for a tasteful and protein-rich breakfast without the extra sugar.
10. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are well known as a health food and come with 5 grams of protein per cup and are rich in omega-3. Ensure that you eat a balanced diet that includes the right balance of omega-6 and omega-3 by sprinkling chia seeds into smoothies, cereals, salads, pancakes. Use as a rice substitute. Enjoy as a pudding (half cup chia seeds, two cups unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract for flavor). Yum.
There you go! Ten protein-packed weight loss BFFs you can easily include in your diet.
Even eight will handhold you to your weight loss goals.