Vegetables have the reputation of not having any protein, but they can often be healthier and contain better protein than the meats you’re used to. We’re not talking about protein alternatives like powders and shakes; we mean actual sources of protein such as beans and greens. Meat often contains fat, cholesterol, and sodium, which raise your blood pressure and make it hard for you to get in shape and stay healthy.
1. Sprouted Beans
Sprouted vegetables contain a lot less starch, which means they often have a higher protein and fiber level. Sprouted beans and grains have an increased amount of vitamins and minerals in them, and they also help improve digestion. 100 grams of sprouted beans yields a whopping 13.1 grams of protein!
Lentils are also loaded with fiber, but they are very low in calories. Half a cup of lentils contain 10 grams of protein. They are known for decreasing bad cholesterol and your risk of cardiovascular disease. Everyone knows that lentils make a pretty good soup, but they can easily be made into a side dish or veggie burger too.
Edamame is one of the most convenient, high-protein snacks you can eat. It also makes a pretty tasty appetizer. Most of the soybeans in the US are genetically modified, so always go for organic when it comes to this source of green protein. One cup of cooked edamame contains an impressive 19 grams of protein!
4. Black Beans
Black beans are a pretty versatile vegetable, often used to make veggie burgers. One cup contains 630 calories, with 16 grams of protein. So while they are fairly high in calories, they boast a huge amount of fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6. Some daring health nuts have even put them in brownies!
Continued on the next page…
5. Lima Beans
Cooked lima beans have 8 grams of protein, which is as much protein as half of a cup of black beans. They not only have a very high level of protein in them, but also contain the amino acid leucine, which is linked with weight loss because of its role in protein synthesis.
As a kid, you were probably threatened with no dessert if you didn’t eat your peas. Health enthusiasts rave over how versatile and tasty peas are. Pop them into a salad, or mix them with some pasta on a carb-load day. One serving of peas contains 5.5 grams of fiber and 8.6 grams of protein, which is not too shabby.
Asparagus is known for being the primary vegetable source of vitamin K. It also contains a healthy dose of antioxidants and potassium, and is a great diuretic that helps reduce water retention. They don’t have quite as much protein as the other veggies in this list, as 100 grams of asparagus contains 2.4 grams of protein. We couldn’t skip out on this wonderful vegetable.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
Even though you might not think of pumpkin seeds as a veggie, they are a lean source of vegetal protein, and they are really good in trail mix. Diets that are rich in pumpkin seeds are believed to lead to a lower risk of cancer, as well as lower stress levels because of their antioxidants. One ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 5.2 grams of protein.
Even if meat is an important part of your diet, try substituting in a high-protein vegetable. You might find that you feel less stressed, more energetic, and that you can get better sleep at night!