6 Meat-free Proteins


Proteins are called building blocks of the body and rightly so. They not only help in proper muscle growth, but also aid in formation of enzymes, which govern almost entirely how the body works.


These proteins can be further broken down into 20 amino acids, 9 of which cannot be synthesized by the body, giving them the name “essential amino acids”. Let’s start of by breaking a myth, meat is not the only source of essential amino acids. Yes they contain a higher percentage of it, but that does not mean there is nothing else to get the job done.


That being said, let’s look into the things vegans can use to fulfill their protein requirements. We need 40-60 grams a day to carry out all the physiological needs. Here is a list of things you can have to get your share of proteins:


1. Greek Yogurt – This thicker variety of yogurt contains twice as much protein. Substituting curd/yogurt with this variant can furnish 18-20 grams protein/cup.


2. Beans – They contain proteins as well as fiber, and help reduce cholesterol. They make your meals more filling and can be easily incorporated into one of your main meals. 1 cup gives up to 15 grams of protein.


3. Nuts– Walnuts, almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts; all are decent sources of protein. Additionally they help in reducing bad cholesterol. Peanut butter is also excellent, but go for the nuttier variety. 2 Tbs contains 8-10 grams protein.


4. Lentils/Dal – This is perhaps the most common food in your kitchen, and why not. These are great sources of proteins and folate, which helps good health of the heart and nervous system. 1 cup contains 18-20 grams protein.


5. Quinoa – This looks a lot like couscous, but is far more nutritious. It is a great source of protein, magnesium and iron. Nowadays, it is widely being used as a substitute to rice, contains less calories while providing more nutrition. 1 cup gives 10 grams of protein.


6. Soy – While beans lack methionine, soy is a complete protein. While tofu is the best known soy product, there are lots of ways to prepare it. 1 cup serves up 25-30 grams.


It’s always best to mix and match, as no two things are quite the same. There is a certain amount of uniqueness to all of them, and they help the body in one way or the other. But, all of them will fulfill the protein requirements of your body.

Author: Dr. Abhishek Chaudhuri

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