If you’ve been with us for awhile, you will know that the meals we offer our clients are completely plant-based. However, while we eat and cook a plant-based diet, we have many friends and clients who do consume animal products, but they are looking for ways to increase the plant to animal ratio, and we are here to help.
So, for today’s blog, we are going to talk about plant-based sources of protein.
When we tell people that we eat a plant-based diet, their first question (9 times out of 10) is, “how do you get enough protein?” Even though most nutritionists and health care experts believe that the North American diet contains more than enough sources of protein – regardless of whether or not we eat meat or consume dairy.
To set everyone’s minds at ease, we are going to share our favourite plant-based sources – and be prepared, you are going to be amazed at the variety of sources on this list!
- Lentils – contain 18 g of protein / cooked cup, and are also high in fiber, iron, manganese, and folate. Lentils are delicious cooked in dahls, soups and/or stews, and added on top of salads. The fiber in lentils actually helps the good bacteria in your gut, so colon health is an added bonus to eating lentils.
- Beans and chickpeas – contain lots of protein (approx. 15 g / cooked cup) and are high in fiber, iron, folate, potassium, and phosphorous. As a source of complex carbohydrates, beans help you feel full longer and can actually promote weight loss, lower blood pressure, and control blood sugar. Try adding cumin and turmeric to roasted chickpeas – delicious!
- Hempseed – contains around 10 g of complete, easily digestible protein / ounce (this is more than both chia seeds and flaxseeds). Hempseeds contain magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium and are known to have anti-inflammatory properties (probably because they are also high in omega 3 fatty acids). Hempseeds can be added to your morning smoothie, or sprinkled on top of salads, soups, or other dishes.
Few more for the list …
- Nuts and nut butters – contain between 5-7 g of protein / ounce and are a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, calcium, selenium, and magnesium. Raw nuts are typically healthier than blanched, so consume raw nuts whenever possible. Also, natural nut butters that aren’t full of excess oils, sugar, and salt are recommended.
- Spirulina – is a blue-green algae (found in powdered form at any health food store) and contains 8 g of complete protein / 2 Tbsp. serving. It also contains 22% of our daily iron and thiamin requirements, as well as 44% of our copper requirements. One of the natural pigments in spirulina is a powerful antioxidant and is shown to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. A popular way to add spirulina to your diet is to add it to a smoothie.
- Quinoa – contains 8-9 g of complete protein. A cooked cup and is also a good source of fibre, iron, manganese, phosphorous, and magnesium. Quinoa has a slightly nutty taste and can be used as an alternate to rice, added to soups, sprinkled on a salad, and even toasted and added to your favourite homemade granola.
Now let’s turn to our favourite foods – fruits and vegetables:
Vegetables that contain good sources of protein are: broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts – approx. 4-5 g / cooked cup.
While fruit is generally lower in protein than vegetables, some fruits, such as, guava, blackberries, mulberries, bananas, and nectarines contain between 2-4 g / cup.
Beyond fruits and vegetables, here are some other food sources that are high in plant-based protein:
- tofu, tempeh, and edamame
- chia seeds and flaxseeds
- wild rice
- ancient grains like spelt and teff
- sprouted grains
- green peas
- nutritional yeast
At Ki’s Kitchen, we aren’t huge fans of a diet rich in soy products. So we typically choose from the many alternate sources available to us. Some crisp and crunchy edamame sure do make a good snack sometimes, however!
What do you think?
This is an impressive list, is it not? And nary a steak or chicken breast in sight. We hope you enjoy experimenting with some of the protein-rich foods on this list. There are so many amazing tastes and textures to explore.
Lastly, thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it!
Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might benefit, and comments are always welcome!
I look forward to connecting with you next time!
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From our kitchen to yours,
Love + Peace
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