The answer to this question simply stated is- NO I am not deprived at all. In fact my daily regimen includes an awesome amount of protein packed meals and snacks- all vegetarian and some even vegan! Below I’ll share my tips for vegetarians who are struggling to get their protein fill. And these recipes and tips might sound surprising to you carnivores, because you really don’t need meat to get your protein fill, just FYI.
1. Fage Yogurt (vegetarian)
For the amount of times I’ve mentioned Fage on my blog, twitter and Facebook, I should probably be getting endorsed by them HAHA! But in any case, if you’re a vegetarian (and are ok with consuming dairy products), Fage is an awesome snack choice. The thick and creamy consistency of the Greek yogurt, coupled with different fruit toppings (comes with the yogurt), results in a sweet, dessert-like heaven. Each tub contain about 12 grams of protein and 0 grams of fat- need I say more? Did I mention its filling? During a long work day (that’s everyday for me), I get really tired, cranky and hungry towards the late afternoon. This is a great fulfilling pick-me-up and its protein packed!
2. Tofu (vegan)
For those of you who are allergic to soybeans or just get super gassy with tofu, this isn’t an option for you. However, all that aside, this is an AWESOME source of protein. Its super healthy (I purchase Nasoya low-fat tofu steak or cubes) and basically do anything to it. The great thing about tofu is its so plain and naturally bland in flavor, that you can incorporate it in almost any dish. It is my healthy, protein-packed (about 20 grams of protein for 1/2 cup!) version of paneer. Here are some recipes I’ve blogged about using tofu:
Spicy Cumin Potatoes with Green Chili Tofu– great to eat as is, or wrapped up in a tortilla (Kati Roll!!)
3. Beans (vegan)
I am Indian (in case you couldn’t tell by now), and we eat a lot of beans and lentils. We generally incorporate in our meals by sauteing then with garlic, onions, curry leaves, black mustard seeds and chilies. If you don’t have these ingredients on hand, here are a few recipes in which you can get your bean fill:
Roasted Garlic-Chili Hummus– need I say more?
Creamy Maharashtrian Chole (Garbanzo Bean “Curry”)- yummy, traditional and healthy!
Indian Sloppy Joe (Pav Bhaji)– a Mumbai street food classic!
4. Egg Whites
Yes, an obvious choice, but people sometimes forget that eggs ARE healthy if you don’t consume the yolk. I personally do not like the yolk, so if I order eggs anywhere I request only egg whites. Every morning before I go to work I eat a 3 jumbo eggwhite sandwich with a slice of reduced-fat American cheese- yah, I don’t think any piece of steak or breast of chicken is necessary to give you the protein fill that I just got in this simple and vegetarian breakfast sandwich. On average a jumbo eggwhite has 4.5 grams of Protein and 18 Calories (0 fat), and a slice of reduced-fat American cheese has 4 grams of Protein, 2.5 grams of fat and 45 calories. Altogether this sandwich has a total of 17.5 grams of protein.
5. Veggie Burgers, “Chicken Tenders”, etc
Don’t be shy or grossed out to try frozen veggie burger products- they’re AWESOME. Plus if you have the time, you can jazz it up! Amongst my favorites are the Gardein 7-Grain Tenders– they pretty much taste like chicken tenders, but obviously are animal friendly and they’re PACKED with protein (9 grams of protein per serving) and low in fat!
Basil-Aioli Dipping Sauce– perfect sauce/spread for your veggie burger or tenders!