How to Hit Your Protein Goals as a Vegetarian5 September 2018
Protein is one of the most important factors for improving your health, physique and overall well being. Whether you’re a vegetarian veteran, a newbie or you’re just considering cutting meat and fish out of your diet, you still need to make sure you’re hitting your protein goals if you want to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
Perhaps you’ve changed your diet to boost a weight loss regime, or maybe you’ve started a bodybuilding meal prep or vegetarian meal plan schedule and are wondering how you’re going to get that essential protein without meat or fish. Well we want to help you forget about your protein problems, because hitting your protein goals as a vegetarian is easily achievable.
It’s time to get that much needed protein into your vegetarian meal prep plans.
First, why is protein so powerful?
High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets like keto are hugely popular at the moment, and it’s not hard to see why. Dietary protein is made up of essential amino acids, which are basically the building blocks of life, and every cell in our bodies can make use of it.
Protein can help our bodies produce enzymes, hormones, antibodies and other important body chemicals, plus it’s also vital for building and repairing body tissue. It serves to build muscle and strengthen bones, cartilage, and skin. Protein is a “macronutrient,” but our bodies always need relatively large amounts of it to thrive. This is because our bodies don’t store protein naturally, meaning we have to re-supply it frequently through our diets.
Prepare a vegetarian meal plan
Whether you want to lose weight and tone up, or build muscle, you’ll need enough protein in your vegetarian diet to hit your goals. You may find it more difficult to stick to a high protein meal prep regime, because you’re simply lost when it comes to finding alternative protein sources.
There’s no need to worry though, because in truth there’s an abundance of protein rich foods, which are perfectly suitable for vegetarians. We’ll take you through some shortly, but first it’s important to start putting a meal prep plan together.
Start setting aside time each week to look for recipes. Browse blogs, read through cookbooks, and get yourself inspired. Make a calendar to keep track of your meals and recipes, and to make sure your hitting those protein goals. Put a specific shopping list together to get the ingredients you really need, so that you can begin meal prepping at the weekends ready for the week ahead.
Get your vegetarian protein sources sorted
Okay, you’re getting your vegetarian meal plan ready to go, and now you need to find some nutrient rich vegetarian food options that contain plenty of protein.
Here are some of the best vegetarian protein sources you can use to hit your health goals, increase your muscle gains, and get any weight loss plans off to a spectacular start:
- Chickpeas and other beans contain copious amounts of protein, as well as being excellent sources of fiber, carbs, potassium and more.
- Green peas are flexible to use in many side dishes or as part of a main meal. They are great sources of protein, and contain multiple vitamins.
- Quinoa is a complete protein and an ideal wheat-free alternative. As well as having a high nutrient content, it contains double the protein compared to rice or barley.
- Tofu, tempeh and edamame all come from soybeans, which are a whole source of protein. All three provide essential amino acids, and also contain good amounts of iron and calcium.
- Nuts and seeds make great snacks, and they contain plenty of protein and essential fats. Cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds and almonds are all popular choices.
- Wild rice contains more protein than alternative long-grain rice options, such as brown rice and basmati, but those are great choices too.
- Oats generally contain better quality proteins than alternative grains, even though they aren’t considered to be a complete protein.
- Hemp is a plant protein that can supply your body with all the essential amino acids it can’t produce on its own. It also has fatty acids, which help boost your immune system.
- Avocados a packed with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, all nine essential amino acids, and good amounts of protein of course.
Believe it or not, these are just a handful of the great protein sources for vegetarians, and they are also perfectly suitable for vegan meal prep too. There’s plenty more available that you can use as part of your vegetarian meal prep.
Stick to your plan
So despite the hearsay, protein deficiencies among vegetarians or vegans is far from the norm. In truth, hitting your protein goals as a vegetarian can be as easy as you want it to be. All it takes is a solid vegetarian meal plan and knowing what the best foods are to give you that much needed protein. You can start incorporating more plant-based and alternative proteins into your diet today.
Set yourself daily goals, and outline exactly how you’re going to mold your meal timing around your current lifestyle in your vegetarian meal plan. Work out how many meals you can fit into an average day, and how you’re going to distribute your protein throughout that day. Get your protein sources ready, using the list above to help. Then look at how to integrate those sources into your favourite vegetarian meals.
If you discipline yourself and stick to your protein plan then you’ll soon be reaping the benefits, not only to your physique but also to your overall health and wellbeing.
Need help with your meal plan?
If you’re busy schedule stops you from making the most out of your meal prep plans, don’t worry, help is at hand.
With Prep Perfect, you can select suitable meals to suit your exact tastes and dietary requirements. Then have them delivered to your door, to fit with your schedule. Choose from our weight loss, maintenance, and muscle gain packages. Or for any help with weight loss meal prep, take advantage of our keto meal plan.
We’ve got even more fresh, nutritious and protein rich food on our new Gourmet menu too. We want you to hit all of your health and fitness goals, with well-balanced and wholesome meals.