Protein Rich Vegetables: How to Get Protein From Your Greens

protein rich vegetablesWe all need protein to function, and if you are a vegetarian, finding easily available protein sources might not always be easy.  A lack of this essential nutrient can leave you feeling slumped, tired, and irritable.  But, did you know that protein rich vegetables can be a great source of protein?

Today, there are around 7.3 million vegetarians in the United States alone.  If you are one of the 7.3 million, you might be constantly on the lookout for alternative sources of protein, such as protein rich vegetables.  To keep your muscles healthy and your body feel vibrant, we are going to give you some wonderful ideas on protein rich vegetables that you can incorporate into your diet, vegetarian or otherwise.

Protein Rich Vegetables

Peas:  They might look small, but peas pack a punch of protein.  Split peas, for instance, provide more than 16 grams of protein for each of its one-cup serving.  The great thing about peas is that they are convenient and can be added to any of your meals, salads, or snacks.  Peas hardly require any preparation, and can be easily stored in your cupboard.

Corn:  What other yellow sources of protein can you name?  Corn can provide up to give grams of protein per cup, no matter if it is out of the can or on a cob.  Additionally, corn is also a great source of fiber.  Like peas, corn can easily be added to any main dish, salad, or be eaten by itself for a great and healthy addition.  If corn by itself is not your thing, try adding it into a casserole, quiche, or on top of some delicious macaroni and cheese.

Broccoli:  This little tree will provide you up to three grams of protein per cup of chopped broccoli.  If it is not filling enough for you alone, try it alongside of some other wonderful protein sources, such as brown rich or beans.  This will create a healthy and filling dish without having to spend much time on preparation.

Chickpeas:  Another type of pea, chickpeas are a major source of protein.  With a one cup serving, you will get up to eight grams of protein.  Chickpeas are easily found in hummus, which makes them fun and healthy dips to incorporate into your meals.  They can also be added to things such as soup or salads as well.

SpinachYou know why Popeye’s muscles were so big, right?  From eating all that spinach, of course!  One serving of spinach will give you an impressive 13 grams of protein.  This can help you stay full and keep you up with your daily quota.  Spinach alone might not be appealing for everyone, so consider adding it to things such as pastas, soups, salads, or casseroles to switch things up.

Artichokes:  It might take awhile to learn how to cook an artichoke, but its nutritional benefits will be well worth it in the end.  Artichokes have around four grams of protein per serving and are delicious when its leaves are dipped into warm condiments, such as butter or a creamy soup.  Artichokes are meaty vegetables, which mean they can go well alongside any dish or be eaten by themselves.

Potatoes:  Yep, potatoes are a vegetable!  As you know, potatoes can be prepared a variety of ways.  The great thing about them is that they will pack the same amount of protein (5 grams) no matter if they are mashed, fried, or baked.  If you want more protein than your spud can offer you, consider adding some protein-rich toppings, such as beans, peas, corn, or greek yogurt.

Asparagus:  These long vegetables look thin, but will give you up to 3 grams of protein per serving.  You can cook asparagus in a variety of different ways, such as: fried, grilled, steamed, or broiled.

Cauliflower:  A lighter version of broccoli, cauliflower also has 3 grams of protein per serving, and can be incorporated into your meals in many different ways.  Try adding cauliflower to curries or soups.  Cauliflower can even be eaten mashed.

Watercress:  No, they are not all water.  Watercress will give you about 3 grams of protein per serving.  Because of its small size, at 100 grams, it will give you a great source of protein.  You might not even notice it is there, so try adding it to such things as: salads, soups, or sandwiches for an extra protein punch.

Brussels sprouts:  Brussels sprouts are becoming extremely popular these days as a health food because of their nutrition benefits and heartiness.  Brussels sprouts are rich and protein and area ideal side dishes.  They are delicious when baked and drizzled with some vegetable oil, and can be added to main dishes or eaten as a protein-rich side dish.

Beans:  Although they are technically a fruit, fruits and vegetables can go hand in hand, so we thought we would include them here.  Why?  Beans are a wonderful source of healthy plant-based protein, brining in about 9 grams of protein per serving.  Consider bean options such as: pinto, garbanzo, white, kidney, lima, or soy beans o add into your diet.

Tips for Vegetarians

  • Add protein sources that are naturally low in fat.
  • There are many foods that contain meat or poultry that can easily be made vegetarian.
  • Try these fun options for adding some vegetables into meals that you and your family can enjoy: veggie pizza, vegetable lasagna, tofu-vegetable stir fry, vegetable lo mein, vegetable kabobs, or bean burritos or tacos.
  • Make sure you focus in on other nutrients that vegetarians need to include, such as: iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.
  • Do not worry about dining out, as most restaurants will offer vegetarian options to their customers.

Fill Up On Your Greens

When you think of protein, you generally do not think of vegetables.  However, with these protein-packed vegetable options, you can easily incorporate protein in your diet through your leafy greens.  Not only are they healthy, but they are muscle-building as well.  For other healthy cooking tips and vegetarian recommendations, head on over to the learn how to eat healthy in an easy way.