While switching your diet to vegetarianism from non-veg foods one loses the easy source of protein in their food items.; that’s why such people start looking for complete vegan or vegetarian alternatives to chicken or meat for an adequate amount of protein intake.
Protein is generally considered as a very important macromolecule that helps in building blocks of your body’s bones, tissues, blood, muscles, and skin. Proteins break down into amino acids in the body which helps in promoting cell growth and repairing. They also take a longer time to digest than carbohydrates helping one to feel fuller for a longer period of time on fewer calories.
Mostly animal products like eggs, meat, and dairy products are high sources of protein, they are also high in cholesterol and saturated fats. If you do not have enough protein in your diet it might lead to various health problems like fatigue, muscle loss, and in severe cases causes anemia.
There are various health benefits associated with having a vegetarian diet which includes lower levels of blood pressure, cholesterol levels and it also lowers your overall BMI. Simply make sure that you are having balanced meals and the key nutrients like vitamin B12, iron and omega-3s are there in your diet which many times are not there in a vegetarian diet.
So, the vegans do not worry anymore because there are various alternatives to meat and fish which are also delicious as a cheeseburger and are also high sources of protein. Given below are some foods that are rich-protein replacements for chicken and meat and will also help you to maintain a very healthy diet. So, see the best vegan and vegetarian substitutes for Chicken to get protein.
1) Black Beans
It is one of the best vegetarian alternatives to chicken for protein as well as for other nutrients. Black beans contain 15grams of protein in 1 cup which is almost equivalent to 100gms of chicken or 50 gm of pork loin. Black beans are packed with potassium, vitamin B6, fiber, folate, and various phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are generally chemicals which are produced by the plants. Plants also use them to secure themselves from damaging the environment and to stay and live healthily. Black beans boost anti-inflammatory properties and also antioxidants.
Substitute for-Black beans are a replacement for chicken or shredded beef which are the main ingredients in crunchy black bean tacos or in Cuban black bean soup. Black beans are also used as a base for veg burger Pattie.
2) Butter (Lima) Beans
14g of protein are there in 1 cup of Butter (Lima) beans that are almost equal to ½ cup of scrambled eggs. They are also known as butter beans for some reason and are delicate in flavor. For their starchy yet buttery texture, they are known as a great ingredient for making various types of dishes. This type of beans has more potassium than other types of beans and are also a great source of minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Substitute for- Butter beans acts as another great substitute for meat in burgers which are homemade. Butter bean soup is vegan-friendly and another delicious option for soups where meat is generally included in their recipes.
There are 5.2g of protein in 1 cup of grilled portabella mushroom. They act as a great substitute for chicken and meat when you are looking for a whole food option that is unprocessed. They naturally contain a meaty flavor that is rich in umami and adds a type of savory taste in it. Portobello mushroom caps can be broiled in place of a burger or grilled or sliced and used in tacos or stir-fries.
Substitute for-Mushrooms are substituted for meats and chicken because they contain a hearty flavor and texture. If you want to reduce your intake of processed foods they are considered a great option. Mushrooms are a good choice for people who are trying to lose weight because they are high in fiber and low in calories but they do not contain much protein.
4) Almonds/Almond Butter
There is 12g protein in a ¼ cup of almonds or 1tbsp of almond butter is almost equal to 1cup of milk. Almonds are generally high in energy and also contain antioxidants, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are needed to maintain a healthy diet.
Substitute for- Almond butter is paired well with some fruits like banana, apples, or peas. You can add a spoonful of almonds to your oatmeal or smoothie which you can eat straight out of the jar or on your toast
It contains 8g of protein in 1 cup of Quinoa which is equal to 1 slice fat-less mozzarella cheese. This is rich in protein vegetarian alternative to chicken and also gluten-free and all the nine essential amino acids are present over here. This is also high in iron, magnesium, calcium, fiber, B-vitamins, potassium, phosphorus, and many other important antioxidants. Quinoa also helps in controlling blood sugar levels because it has a very low glycaemic index.
Substitute for-Quinoa is a great substitute for ground beef in a burger sloppy Joes or BBQ sandwich and is also used in stews or soups.
There are 6g of protein per 1cup of buckwheat which is almost equal to 1 large egg. Buckwheat is basically a fruit seed and in no way similar to wheat. It serves as a substitute for white rice because it is energizing and nutritious and is also available throughout the year. It also acts as a high source of easily digestible proteins and is also a gluten-free powder food. It is considered a superfood that one can include in their regular diet because it contains various nutrients and a low glycaemic index. Buckwheat contains a variety of minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, copper, etc.
Substitute for- Buckwheat can also be served as an incredible breakfast with Buckwheat granola or pancakes made of buckwheat flour. You can eat buckwheat as a cereal serving it cold with oat or coconut milk.
7) Soybean- vegetarian alternative to chicken
Soybean contains 18g of protein per 1cup which is almost equal to 180g of cottage cheese or 75g portion of salmon. Soybean provides almost all the essential amino acids just as animal proteins do. These are also called as edamame as they are available as fresh beans and the yellow beans are the mature ones. Always choose organic soy when u have options. They are also a good dose of B-vitamins other than being a source of protein.
Substitute for-Soybean is the popular form of mainstream chicken and meat alternatives. In preparing aromatic curry soya chunks are ideal and swapping chicken pieces for a veggie option. Due to its mild flavor, it is a great substitute in various dishes of Asian stir-fries to BBQ and is also a vegan substitute for scrambled eggs.
8) Organic Tempeh
In about 100g of tempeh, there are 20g of protein which is almost equal to 30g of protein in a chicken breast of 100g. Tempeh is a high source of complete protein and is prepared by fermenting the cooked soybeans and giving it a shape like a dense cake that can be pan-fried and sliced like tofu. Tempeh becomes easier to digest because of fermenting it and it also contains more protein and fiber than tofu.
Substitute for – Tempeh is an incredible chicken and meat alternatives because of its dense consistency. Dishes like sweet and sour chicken, chicken nuggets, or BBQ Sandwich are all substituted with vegan-friendly tempeh due to its amazing looks and tastes.
9) Hemp Seed
There are about 31g of protein in 100g of hemp seed which is equivalent to 100g of lean beef. It is one of the best vegetarian alternatives to chicken for providing a high source of protein when it comes to vegan foods. All the 22 amino acids are there present in it including the 9 very essential amino which our body is not able to produce on its own and takes that from a dietary source. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are balanced in a 3:1 ratio in it. Hemp seeds are also rich in magnesium, this mineral helps in blood pressure and sugar control and with relaxation.
Substitute for- Hemp seeds go with granola or breakfast porridge. You can also add hemp seeds in your daily diet by mixing them with homemade juices or smoothies.
8g of protein is present in 100g of Hummus which is equal to 3spoons of minced beef or a cup of skimmed milk. This simple and lovely dip provides a rich source of proteins and heart-friendly fats. It is an excellent source of dietary fiber and its glycaemic index is low. It can be made very easily and quickly in a small food processor and a can of garlic clove, tahini, chickpeas, extra virgin olive oil with lemon juice, and salt. In the food processor, you need to blend all the ingredients and then your homemade dip will be ready.
Substitute for-Hummus is excellent when you want to substitute your meat plate for a vegan diet. You can also add this to a veg sandwich for replacing the calorie-packed dressings or spreads, cheese, and meat.
There are 3g of protein in a cup of Jackfruit which is almost equal to 1/3cup of skim milk. This gained popularity as a chicken and meat alternatives though it is on the lower side in a protein list. Since it can weigh up to 100 pounds it is considered as one the largest tree-borne fruits on this earth. Jackfruit basically looks like meat and is a rich source of iron, potassium, and calcium. Due to its mild flavor, it’s very easy to spice and cook by making it a great vegan diet.
Substitute for Jackfruit-It is substituted for nachos, Tex-Mex, vegan tacos, and pulled ‘pork’ sandwiches and various other Asian dishes.
A verdict for Vegetarian alternatives to chicken seekers
The idea of swapping meat for a vegan diet and obtaining proteins from them is a great way of saving the animals from killing them other than being a healthy diet. In this way, we can stop the mass production of chicken and meat and the cruelty done towards animals. It doesn’t matter if you are a meat lover, vegan or vegetarian who is looking for healthy diet options then all these plant-based protein substitutes are an incredible way to add diversity and nutrients in your diet.
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