Your body needs protein as much as it needs anything else, but you don’t have to pile meat on your plate to get the necessary amount. There is plenty of protein in certain vegetables that can satisfy your needs, and I’m not talking about putting protein powder on your broccoli. There are vegetables that contain enough protein to get the job done without having any other protein source added to them, which means you can get your protein from soybeans, instead of soybeans as a side to a steak. That brings us to the list – let’s get started.
These protein-rich plants have complete protein, and are the only other plants besides quinoa to do so. Cooked soybeans have around 28 grams of protein per cup, which is the same amount found in 150 grams of chicken. Also, a cup of soybeans will have 15 grams of fat and 17 grams of carbs, but the fat is over 58% essential fatty acids, which makes it beneficial as well. The fiber in soybeans in insoluble, which means it helps your digestive system stay healthy. The unsaturated fat in the soybeans can also help with your cardiovascular health.
You can usually find them at the side of some sushi in Asian restaurants, but they can also be eaten with great efficiency on their own. They are small, but they are very rich in protein, something which people often seem to forget. Edamame are soybeans that haven’t matured yet, boiled or steamed while they’re still inside the pod. A cup of them has about 22 grams of protein, which when added to your main protein dish will make up the majority of your 30 needed grams of protein per meal.
As you may have noticed the trend by now, beans are a great source of protein. Legumes also have a horse in the race with lentils, which have around 18 grams of protein per cup when fully cooked. This means they have about 230 calories per serving, which is low enough that you want to include them in your closely monitored calorie intake. Also, lentils have a lot of dietary fiber and even some folate, thiamin, iron and phosphorus. You can put them in a salad or in a soup, or you can even crunch them together to get a vegetarian burger patty with a lot of protein!
When you want to eat more protein without eating fat, you want broccoli. It might look like a bonsai tree, and it might almost always be served as a side to something more important such as chicken, lamb or beef, but it packs a powerful protein punch on its own. A cup of broccoli has 2.6 grams of protein, but more importantly it satisfies all your daily vitamin C and K needs. Also, broccoli has a lot of folate, which has been scientifically proven to lower the chances of some cancer varieties.
They have about 8.6 grams of protein for every cup, but they also have a lot of vitamins such as A and C. Other things found in peas are phosphorus, iron, thiamin, folate and vitamin B, which has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. A serving of peas has about 5.5 grams of fiber. Feel free to put peas in your salad, as a side to your meat or in a healthy pasta meal when you’re having a high carb intake day.
It’s nothing new to anyone who has ever trained for a physique contest. These awesome green sticks are present in a huge number of meals and you can eat them with pretty much anything and everything. Asparagus is a diuretic, which means your body will retain less water and you will appear slimmer. Also, there is a lot of protein in asparagus, as it is 2.4% pure protein, which means that there are 2.4 grams of protein for every 100 grams of asparagus. This lovely green plant is also the best source of vitamin K that we know of, having a lot of antioxidants and potassium as well.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
When you’ve used up all the gourd, you might wonder what to do with the seeds that you have left. Here’s a suggestion: try roasting them! It’ll give you a good chip alternative and the perfect healthy snack, but they will also provide a lot of protein! Just an ounce of roasted pumpkin seeds has about five grams of protein, which is more than half the protein in a single egg! Also, studies have shown that if your diet has a higher intake of pumpkin seeds, your chances of contracting lung, breast, colorectal or gastric cancer are significantly lower. These delicious little seeds also have a lot of antioxidants, which can lower your oxidative stress and inflammation, but they also house something called L-tryptophan, which can help you sleep far better than usual. This is the reason that people use them as sleeping aids as well.
8. Mung Bean Sprouts
You’ve probably seen these in stir-fried food, but they are much more versatile! You can put them in your sandwich, your salad or your omelet. Mung bean sprouts have a lot of plant-based protein – 2.5 grams per cup when cooked, but they also have lecithin which reduces your cholesterol and zinc which boosts your physical performance.