Vegetarians often feel left out that there are not much protein options available in their diet as compared to their non-vegetarian counterparts. Chicken, eggs, lean meats, red meats, fishes are popularly known as the good sources of protein. The good news is that there are plenty of protein options available for vegetarians to meet the daily protein requirement. Contrary to the belief an average individual only requires approximately one gram of protein per kg of body weight to meet the daily protein requirement intake. Extra protein gets stored as fat in the body.
Protein helps in the building of muscle fiber and for various other functions of the body. Protein is required by the body for the growth, maintenance and repair of all cells. It is also essential for the synthesis of antiboidies which fight infection and is the main nutrient for our hair, nails etc.
Best Vegetarian Protein Sources
Yogurt: Yogurt and Greek yogurt both are healthy options for protein. One cup of yogurt can provide you with 14 gm of protein and more ever with other nutrition as well. Opt for a plain yogurt than the sweetened and flavored one as it is less in sugar and other additives. Yogurt boosts bone health, promotes colon health and boosts immunity. Greek yogurt contains more protein than the regular yogurt.
Soybean: Soyabean is one of the richest vegetarian protein source and is rich in carbohydrates, fats and other important vitamins and minerals. Men should eat less of soy products as they are high in female hormones and excess consumption could cause man boobs. Other soy products are equally healthy for protein. Like tofu, soymilk etc are all healthy sources of protein. Read more
Its difficult to portion control when it comes to snacks. They are consumed while standing and socializing that might prevent the mind from registering the damage done in terms of calories. With moods elevated for the coming festive season and friends, family and relatives getting together for card parties, its difficult to escape the snacks. Snacks are also known as finger foods, are small in size but can be very high in calories as most of them are either deep fried or consumed in large quantities. This directly impacts the waist line and reverses any weight loss that you might have achieved especially for this festive season.
Not considering all snacks to be unhealthy but most of them are made from using cheese, refined flour, oil, high carb ingredients and many of them are deep fried. Also the dips which offer different flavors can be equally unhealthy if the ingredients have high salt, sugar or high fat.
We know it that its not just the snacks that play spoil sport to your weight loss resolutions but also the alcohol that accompanies it. If not the alcohol then the sweetened soda beverages, cold drinks, packaged juice, soda water etc are there to keep sipping on your favorite snack. Now we don’t want ti imply our options but present you some healthy options for consideration. Even if you are eating healthy options portion control is a must as every extra calorie consumed gets saved as fat in your body.
There are plenty of healthy snack options available and using some culinary skills and keeping out the unhealthy ingredients you can prepare or outsource some snacks for better health and taste.
Some Healthy Dip Options
Hung Yogurt Dip: Hung yogurt or greek yogurt is a healthy option as it is rich in nutrition and keeps a check on calorie intake. To make a dip you can use shredded garlic cloves, table spoon olive oil, chopped coriander and peppermint, some chilly flakes and salt for taste and combine it with greek yogurt. It tastes delicious and is a great substitute for cheese dips, mayonnaise or other fattening dips.
Hummus: Chickpeas is the main ingredient in the recipe which is an excellent source of protein and important vitamins and minerals. Mash the chickpeas in a blender and mic chopped garlic (optional), seasame paste, olive oil, lemon juice and garnish it with coriander or peppermint leaves. This is a great dip that can be eaten with breads and cereals, pita bread and is filling too.
Green Chutney: This is a common dip in Indian menus and and compliments all the snacks. You can prepare green chutney in a variety of ways. You can make it in combination of coriander leaves, peppermint leaves, raw mango, lemon juice and salt for taste. If you want to further experiment it you can add a paste of onion and garlic paste in it to further the taste.
Fresh Vegetable Platter: For vegetable salad you can have plenty of options of vegetables that you can mix and prepare different salads. You could use fruits for a mixed taste and bring in more flavor to it. Simple salads with tomatoes, cucumber, radish, carrots, bell pepper, cruciferous vegetables are mostly available. You could add lean meat options, cottage cheese etc to avoid making the salad plain and simple. Even boiled eggs or scrambled eggs can add flavor to your simple salad.
Whole wheat Pita Bread: Pita bread is a great substitute for chips to be served as snacks. It has fiber and protein in it that helps you get fuller faster and longer preventing you to continue nibbling. The salt in chips is highly addictive that’s what makes you keep munching them and before you realize it you have finished a large packet of chips all by yourself.
Barbecued Chicken: Everyone loves Barbecue chicken and vegetarians can opt for barbequed veg platter. Chicken is a nutritious food option rich in protein and low in fat if the fat is removed properly. Grill your chicken in the open and with some spices and dips enjoy eating it while you play cards and make some money.
Dry Fruits: Some different healthy dry fruits that you can casually munch while concentrating on your game can be a interesting choice. It will add nutrition to your body, is small in portion and can be eaten directly. Offer almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashew-nuts etc. Peanuts or peanut salad can be a healthy option as well.
We require 2 teaspoons of sugar in a day if you are looking to lose weight and about 4 teaspoons if you just want to manage your current weight. But don’t just count the sugar consumption in your tea and coffee but all the other sources that you might consuming sugar indirectlylike your sweetened soda’s, colas, candies, sweetened cornflakes and flavoured yogurt. Often diet programs and nutritionist brag about eating yogurt in the diet as it has probiotics, vitamins and minerals, protein etc which promote better health and is low in calories as well. But is flavored yogurt as healthy as non-flavored yogurt?
Flavored yogurt which come in a variety of mouth watering flavors don’t contain the real fruit in it but conatins the pureed form which is high in sugar content. Compare the ingredients of regular yogurt and flavored yogurt to understand the difference in calorie intake. Around 200 gms of flavored yogurt contains 25 grams of added sugar. The extra sugar gets stored in the body as fat and over a period of time this continuous weight gain can cause health complications. The sugar in the flavored yogurt increases the calorie intake by 100 calories for a 200 gm serving.
We are not saying that flavored yogurt is the main reason behind your weight gain. What we mean is that foods like flavoured yogurt are often marketed as health foods. They might be relatively more healthy than the other processed foods but they still are hidden source of high calorie food that are often misunderstood as fat free.
When talking about weight loss it is not just important to eat healthy foods but manage calories either by portion control or choosing healthier options. Sugar provides instant energy and no nutrition. People who have blood sugar problems could experience a sudden increase in sugar levels with flavored yogurt. Instead flavor your yogurt seperately with fruits that you want. Flavored yogurt is also high in sodium content causing water retention in the body and resulting in bloating. Read more
Greek yogurt has the taste of yogurt and the creamy texture and consistency of cream or cream cheese. Greek yogurt is made from fermenting cow’s or goat’s milk and then straining water to give the thick, creamy consistency. Other ways of preparing it are boiling milk for a little longer time to to reduce its water percentage or adding cream to the milk to increase the density. But if you are conscious of your waist line then greek yogurt prepared from regular curd made from double toned milk will give you almost the same flavour and texture.
Lately greek yogurt is finding its popularity amongst people due to its nutrition and taste. It is used in various dishes and can be substituted for mayonnaise, sour cream in the recipes to make it healthy without compromising on the taste. You can prepare greek yogurt at home by leaving the normal yogurt in a muslin cloth for an hour and letting the water content drain out.
For all those healthy conscious enthusiasts we have put together a few easy ways of adding greek yogurt to your diet. These options not only are delicious but are packed with nutrition catering to your daily nutrition requirement.
Greek Yogurt Dip: Add fresh finely chopped peppermint or coriander, onion and some spices like salt and pepper to the yogurt to create a tasty dip for your finger foods. This can be served with vegetable sticks or roasted potato chips. This small serving of dip has minimum of 70 calories in it.
Quick snack: You can eat a bowl of greek yogurt with a pinch of salt as a quick, filling snack. Or even add steamed corn to a bowl of yogurt with salt and pepper. Taste of corn and sour taste of yogurt give it a tangy taste. It provides the body with fiber, carbohydrates, protein and essential micro nutrients. Corn can also be substituted with fruits like strawberry, mangoes, apples, peaches, bananas etc. This healthy snack would be around 240-270 calories
Salad Dressing: Another healthy salad dressing option that just needs salt and pepper. This can be added to chopped carrots, bell peppers, cucumber, onions , tomatoes, rocket leaves, lettuce and even cabbage leaves. It gives the perfect creamy flavour and texture to the salad without taking away the health benefits unlike most of the packaged salad dressings available. 75 gms of salad with greek yogurt dressing will contain approximately 210 calories.
Substitute for Milk: If you don’t like milk or are lactose intolerant and looking for a change in taste then you can enjoy greek yogurt with breakfast cereals. Simply substitute milk with greek yogurt and add it to your bowl of muselli . The fiber of the cereal with its micro nutrients add along with the nutrition of greek yogurt for better health. A smalll serving will have approximately 215 calories. If you wish to add fruits then you can add another 50 calories to the original calorie count.
Sandwich spread: Instead of using cream cheese or mayonnaise or other packaged sandwich spread greek yogurt can be used to increase the nutritional value of the sandwich. The combination provides all the nutrition like carbs, fiber, protein and vitamins and minerals adding not much of calories. Read more