But where do you get your protein from?
One of the most common concerns questions to be asked if you live on a plant-based diet!
Everyone knows that animal sources such as chicken, beef, steak and salmon are protein rich but we want to dispel the deeply ingrained, misleading myth that that meat, eggs and dairy are the only source of protein out there. With the popularity of veganism and vegetarianism on the rise, we were keen to look into the best alternative, non-animal based foods that contain the highest sources of protein.
Whether for ethical, environmental or health reasons, if you’re looking to make the transition to cutting out animal products completely, or just simply looking to cut down on your consumption, this doesn’t need to result in you being in a protein deficit. If done right, a well-rounded whole food plant-based diet can provide you with more than enough protein to satisfy your body’s needs, no matter how active your lifestyle is.
We’ve made an easy, non-fancy, go-to list of a variety of the top plant based protein sources to share with you (all able to be bought in your local supermarket!) and here it is below:
1. Broccoli – 4g / cup
Yes that’s right, those little green trees are not only packed with iron, calcium and antioxidants, but broccoli also contains a good amount of protein too. Make this vegetable a shopping list staple and mix it with another protein-rich grain such as quinoa or peas to give you a more complete protein fix.
2. Quinoa – 11g protein / cup
Quinoa is a great gluten-free grain to get into your diet when you consider it’s nutritional value. An easy, cheap, high protein alternative to pasta or rice, it’s not surprising it has become so popular! Make a big batch and mix it with vegetables, sauces or even turn it into a high-protein breakfast topped with almond milk, seeds and berries.
3. Lentils – 17.9g protein / cup
Lentils are nutritional powerhouses. Easy to prepare, filling and very cheap to buy a big bulk of, lentils are a high source of not only protein but also fibre and carbohydrates. Think warming lentil soups, stews and curries to keep your plant-based meals protein rich this winter.
4. Pumpkin seeds – 10g protein / ¼ cup
Have them by themselves as a snack, roast them with sea salt and coconut oil (if you haven’t tried this already, you need to!) or use them as a topper to any salad, smoothie bowl or porridge. You can also blend them and whip up a batch of pumpkin seed butter. However you like them, these seeds are both protein and mineral rich. Buy a bag to keep in your cupboard and when you can, get them into your diet in one way or another daily.
5. Beans (kidney, pinto, black, mung) – 12-15g protein / cup
In a chilli, soup, burrito, salad or an extra addition to any dish for an added protein hit, beans of all varieties are protein-packed, health-promoting legumes that are a great staple to include in your diet and help you reach your daily protein and other nutritional needs intake.
6. Peas – 9g / cup
Love them or hate them, these little green peas are high in protein as well as good sources of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and other B vitamins. Use them as a side to your dish or make it them a key ingredient and whip up a pea soup, pea risotto or pea and avocado guacamole.
7. Oatmeal – 6g / cup (cooked oats)
When tucking into your morning bowl of oats, you may only be thinking of the taste and filling source of healthy grains benefits but the nutritional benefits of oats don’t stop there! Oats are not only high in fibre but they also provide you with a good amount of protein too.
Top it with other protein sources such as pumpkin seeds and nut butter- you’re onto a morning, plant based protein fix winner!
8. Hemp seeds – 10g / 3 TBSP
Tiny but mighty, these little seeds should not be overlooked when it comes to protein per gram. Packed with omega-3, fatty acids, iron and magnesium too, add them to your next shopping list and throw them into a smoothie or sprinkle them onto yoghurt, oatmeal or salad for an added crunch.
We hope this list helps you realise that with a bit of research and knowledges into your protein needs and the different sources out there, transitioning into a plant based lifestyle won’t leave you in a protein deficit. With all the alternative protein options listed above plus the large variety of others out there, living a plant based lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring or complicated either!
Are you a currently considering making this transition or recently have done? We’d love to know if so and whether this post has helped. Please feel free to get in touch and let us know!
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