Top 10 High-Protein Vegetables to Add to Your Diet

Top 10 High-Protein Vegetables to Add to Your Diet

Overview

If you’ve ever pondered becoming a vegan or vegetarian, you’ve probably been asked the same question: “How will you get enough protein?” Yes, animal products are generally high in protein, but it doesn’t rule out the possibility of high-protein vegetables (or be just as delicious).

Protein is an essential component of everyone’s diet, but it’s especially important for athletes and those attempting to reduce weight. It’s necessary for creating and maintaining muscular mass, feeling full in between meals, and ensuring that all of your body’s cells are functioning properly. Although we usually identify the nutrient with meals like meat and dairy, veggies may also be a good source of plant-based protein if eaten properly.

“Of course, a plant-based or vegan diet may provide all of the protein you require,” says Diana Sugiuchi, R.D.N., creator of Nourish Family Nutrition. “However, ensuring that you obtain critical amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, notably B vitamins, requires some preparation.”

Jerlyn Jones, R.D.N., L.D., an Atlanta-based dietitian, recommends eating “a mix of grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and veggies every day” to get the most out of a plant-based diet. “To increase protein consumption, choose complete, unprocessed meals like soybeans in the form of tofu.”

Although there is no clear criteria for a high-protein vegetable, Jones and Sugiuchi agree that certain types stand out. Adults should take at least 50 grams of protein per day in a 2,000-calorie diet, with around 15 to 20 grams per meal, according to current FDA guidelines. (Some study supports increasing this to 30 grams every meal, especially for breakfast, to help regulate hunger throughout the day.)

Ask athletes like Venus Williams and Kyrie Irving, who became vegan and are still at the top of their game, if you need any more proof that veggies can offer all the protein you need to flourish. Don’t be scared to consume extra plant-based protein; your body will most likely appreciate you.

Whether you want to become plant-based or not, these are some of the best high-protein veggies to include in your diet, according to the FDA.

1. Edamame 

9 g protein per 1/2 cup (cooked)
Just a cup of edamame (also known as cooked soybeans) has a staggering quantity of protein, making it the healthiest appetizer ever. It’s “simply delightful to eat as a snack or tossed into soups or veggie stir-fries,” according to Jones. There are limitless possibilities, such as pureeing the beans into a dip.
Despite their small size, edamame (cooked soybeans) are high in protein, fiber, calcium, folate, iron, and vitamin C. Roasted, boiled, and seasoned, or pureed into a dip are all options.
Try it:

  • Edamame, roasted
  • Hummus with Edamame
  • Edamame Spread (Easy Edamame Spread)

2. Legumes

8 grams of protein per 1/2 cup (boiled)
Lentils are a low-calorie, high-fiber superfood. Jones claims that lentil soup or curry may be made quickly since they don’t need to be soaked. They’re also high in folate, potassium, and copper, which makes them even healthier than the grains they can replace, she adds. Don’t be scared to try something new, like lentil hummus.

3. Black Beans

Protein: 8 grams per 1/2 cup, (cooked)
On top of providing plenty of protein, black beans are also packed with heart-healthy fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin B6, and a range of phytonutrients. You can absolutely make a meal out of them alone (black bean burgers, anyone?), but they’re also easy to slip into almost any dish, Jones explains, including soups and stir-fries.

4. Chickpeas 

7 grams of protein per 1/2 cup(boiled)
Chickpeas are a nutritious bean because of their protein and fiber content. Chickpeas are most commonly associated with hummus, but they can be transformed into virtually anything, from creamy falafel to crispy baked nibbles. They’re particularly tasty when eaten whole, in soups, salads, and even crepes.
Chickpeas are popular for a reason: they’re high in folate, iron, phosphorus, and digestion-regulating fiber, in addition to protein. Serve them in a rich curry, crisped on top of a salad, or as a vegetarian burger.
Try it:

  • Coconut Curry with Chickpeas and Vegetables
  • Crispy Chickpeas with Kale Salad
  • Baked Feta with Chickpeas and Garlicky Kale
  • Burgers made with chickpeas
  • Sandwich with Smashed Chickpea Salad

3. Green Peas 

4 g protein per 1/2 cup (cooked)
“[Green peas] are constantly present in the frozen veggie department,” Sugiuchi notes, “and are sometimes dismissed as being pedestrian.” She enjoys them since they can be served as a side dish, incorporated with grains like rice, pureed with broccoli, or blended into a soup. Vitamins A, K, and C are also abundant in green peas.

Although, yes, technically peas are part of the legume family, many people eat them as they would other high-protein vegetables: steamed with carrots, thrown into a veggie fried rice, or added to a chicken pot pie. And we’re all for it. These tiny green beans will not only tone your muscles with over eight grams of protein, but they’ll also provide seven grams of satiating fiber—all for a mere 125 calories. Adding non-starchy veggies like peas to your diet can help you lose inches of belly fat.

 4. Broccoli

5 g protein per 1 cup (cooked)
Broccoli isn’t only a terrific source of fiber; it’s also a surprise good method to meet your daily protein requirement. You also can’t go wrong with a vegetable that has been linked to cancer-fighting abilities. We like it in a stir fry, but it can also be steamed, baked, or pureed with almost anything.

This cruciferous veggie packs a whole lot of protein. We like it steamed (to preserve most of its water-soluble nutrients!) until al dente and topped with low-sodium soy sauce and sesame seeds. Yum! As an added bonus, chomping on steamed broccoli just a few times a week is clinically proven to lower rates of breast, lung, and skin cancers—that’s why it’s one of the best foods for women

5. Mushrooms

4 g protein per 1 cup (cooked)
All mushrooms, from shiitake to oyster, provide a substantial quantity of protein. White mushrooms, on the other hand, have the most, and they’re also among of the most common. For a dose of umami and protein, toss them into any dish (we recommend arugula pizza, bacon spaghetti, and mole tacos).

Mushrooms are a favorite of vegetarians thanks to their unctuous umami flavor that’s also found in meat and cheese (and what makes each taste so good!). Not only do these fungi offer up a decent serving of protein, but they also are one of the few non-animal-based sources of vitamin D—a vitamin that boosts immunity and is essential for bone health. Here are The 45 Best Recipes for an Instant Vitamin D Boost.

6. Corn

Protein: 4 grams per 1 cup, (cooked)
Like potatoes, corn often gets put into the “plants with no redeeming qualities” category, but with loads of fiber, folate, vitamin C, and magnesium (not to mention protein), it’s worth adding to your next meal, both fresh and frozen. If you’re still eating meat, serve it with chicken; if not, try it in coconut soup.
This delicious vegetable also has a similar amount of fiber. The sole drawback is that it has more calories (134 calories) than other veggie-based protein sources. At the very least, you’ll be consuming a lot of antioxidants that combat free radicals! Lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytochemicals that act together to support good eyesight, are abundant in sweet yellow maize. According to Science, there are a number of additional surprising side effects of eating corn.

7. Artichokes

5 g protein per 1 cup (cooked)
Artichokes aren’t simply for dips anymore. (However, to be clear, they are fantastic in dips.) The low-calorie, nutrient-dense veggies are great in sheet pan meals, roasted sides, and even on top of pizzas—they’ve been hidden in plain sight all this time.

8. Sweet Potatoes

Protein: 5 grams per 1 large potato, (cooked)
Sweet potato, More like sweet protein Add this tuber as a side dish to your typical chicken breast meal to up your protein content even more and you’ll also reap the benefits of their carotenoids: disease-fighting compounds that give you glowing skin.
Not to be outdone by their slightly more protein-packed cousins, sweet potatoes are still great sources of the nutrient, and they work with nearly any meal, from breakfast smoothies to gut-friendly dinners. The veggies are also rich in beta-carotene, which promotes healthy vision, skin, and immune systems.

9. Spinach

6 g protein per 1 cup (cooked)
“Spinach gives tremendous nutritional content, and the health advantages of spinach are numerous,” Jones praises, “apart from being incredibly healthy for you.” Calcium, folic acid, iron, fiber, and vitamins K and C are all found in abundance in this leafy green. It’s also simple to toss into pastas, salads, smoothies, and bowls.

Now we know why Popeye’s muscles were so big! Although baby spinach is little, it carries a lot of protein. For the most hunger-satisfying advantages, eat it sauteed: one cup of cooked spinach has nearly five grams of fiber, but one cup of raw spinach contains none. According to science, here’s what happens to your body when you eat spinach.

10. Lima beans

5 g of protein per 1/2 cup (boiled)
Lima beans include the amino acid leucine, which may play an important role in healthy muscle synthesis in older adults, in addition to satisfying protein. They’re very wonderful on their own, and as an adult, you’ll probably appreciate them even more than you did as a youngster. Plus, they’re very simple to include into soups

Tags: diet, Natural recipes, vitamins

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