How does a Vegetarian get Protein?
Going vegetarian does not mean going without protein. There are numerous ways to get plenty of protein in your diet without eating animal protein. Legumes or beans, soy products such as tempeh or tofu, and quinoa are all excellent options. It is important to eat a variety of foods no matter what you call yourself . . . vegan, vegetarian, flexatarian, etc. Take beans for instance, each variety has different nutrients that are important for optimum health as shown below:
Black beans: A single one cup serving provides you with about 15 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein. Black beans are also an excellent source of folate, magnesium, manganese, and antioxidants.
Kidney beans: At about 8 grams of protein per serving, kidney beans are an excellent source of Vitamin C and Thiamin. Plus only 53 calories in a single serving!
Black-eyed peas: My favorite! These little gems are rich in fiber 11g, potassium 478mcg, folate 358mcg and packed with 13g of protein per serving.
Chickpeas aka garbanzo beans and bengal gram: They are packed with nearly 15g of protein and 12g of fiber plus calcium, iron, and manganese.
Adzuki beans: These beans are becoming more mainstream. Now you can find them in some supermarkets, health food stores, and asian markets. One cooked cup of adzuki beans provides you with 17g of protein, nearly 17g of fiber, plus Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, and Folic acid.
For information about cooking beans, see Cooking Beans 101.