We have gathered some of the top protein packed plant-based foods you can add to your everyday meals to ensure you are getting a wide variety of nutrient-rich protein in your diet, an essential nutrient for growth.
We simply want you to make more conscious good food choices and consider these delicious wholesome foods as an alternative protein source to the standard animal protein. Asides from being packed full of goodness, these alternative protein sources are usually cheaper, as well as saving you calories and unhealthy saturated fats and toxins found in meat.
You may be surprised at the wide, exciting variety of healthy plant-based foods you normally wouldn’t consider to be sources of muscle building proteins. Various studies have shown that plant protein is better for our bodies than animal protein, consuming animal meat has been proven to cause chronic disease, shorter lifespan, and obesity.
It’s no surprise that more and more people are ditching meat and incorporating more plant-based foods into their diets. Why don’t you try swapping out your usual meat, poultry, fish and egg protein sources for some of these tasty, nutritious plant-based foods? Give it a go! There’s never a better time to enhance your diet with the following foods rich in fiber and good fats, and a host of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
➀ Soy: Tempe, Tofu & Edamame Beans
Soy products have a high nutritional value of essential amino acids, it’s low in fat and packed full of protein. Soy-based products will nourish your body and enable growth and recovery for anyone looking to build muscle. To ensure you are benefiting from essential vitamins you can look out for soy-based products such as Tofu, Tempe and Edamame Soybeans.
Tofu is a product made from pressed soybean curds, raw tofu has little to no flavor making it an ideal food for marinating, it soaks up all the flavors and can be the base to a killer curry or flavorsome stir fry. Not only are they crammed full with complete amino acids, they are also rich in folic acid, vitamin K, and bone-strengthening calcium.
Tempeh is another soy-based product made from fermented mature soybeans, with a subtle nutty flavor. Tempeh is made by cooking fermented mature soybeans, which is then pressed into a patty.
Soy products make the perfect, complete muscle-building protein making them a great option to include in your meals, not to mention – they are incredibly tasty!
These small but mighty pulses are loaded in protein and are high in fiber and low in fat. 1 cup provides up to 18 grams of protein, meaning they keep you fuller for longer and allow you to sustain a stable amount of energy without giving you the dreaded midday energy slump. Lentils also contain key antioxidants, vitamin A and C, as well as other phytochemicals that benefit the immune system and fight disease. Lentils contain high levels of iron and can save anyone deficient in iron – commonly vegans and vegetarians– from developing anemia.
You can easily benefit from lentils by preparing them and adding them to your favorite dishes; they’re especially great in casseroles, soups, and salads.
You might not believe it, but per calorie, spinach actually has more protein than ground beef, making spinach a mighty strong protein source for a leafy green. We can’t forget to mention the many health benefits of this nutrient-dense plant, which is high in iron and is a wonderful source of folate, a key vitamin for strengthening women’s reproductive health system and brain function. You can easily toss a few handfuls of spinach into your green juice, smoothie, wrap, salad bowl or soup to sneak in up to 10 grams of protein.
➃ Plant Protein Powder
Without a doubt, plant protein powder is the easiest way to boost your protein intake You can add a scoop into your favorite smoothie to help you build a strong and healthy body sip by sip. A plant-based protein can even be a great option for a meal replacement if you are looking to manage your weight.
Many have chosen to opt for plant-based protein powders due to a range of digestive issues and dairy intolerance caused by consuming whey protein powder. Plant protein blends tend to include complete amino acids, easily digestible protein isolates your body can quickly absorb meaning you get more of the muscle building goodness.
There are a wide variety of plant-based protein powders, ranging from all sorts of flavors and nutritional value. Plant-based proteins will either include, soy protein, pea protein, hemp protein, pumpkin seed protein, and brown rice protein isolates; a 30g scoop can give you up to an astounding 20-27g of protein! Why not give plant protein powder a try? Throw a scoop into your blender, add your favorite fruits and milk alternative, and sip on a filling and delicious protein drink. Check out: Best Blender for Protein Shakes
Chickpeas are a fantastic source of protein, like most legumes they are filled full of iron and fiber with an added extra boost of Vitamin B. A cup of cooked chickpeas will provide you with 15g of protein, and taste delicious when added to curries, salads, and hummus – what’s not to love! Recent studies also showed that when chickpeas were consumed, less processed unhealthy snacks were consumed and the participant’s hunger was satisfied for longer with fewer calories consumed overall. It is clear that by adding chickpeas to your diet, you can nourish your body with essential nutrients whilst providing your body with a wholesome protein source.
Quinoa is a protein powerhouse, 1 cup of the uncooked seeds holds a whopping 24g of protein! It is also great for anyone with gluten intolerance, making it a great wheat-free carbohydrate choice. It is a super source of calcium, magnesium and provides you with vital levels of Vitamin B and E. Quinoa is easy to prepare when cooked it becomes fluffy, and once you taste the nutty flavors, you’ll see why it should be an essential staple to your diet. From replacing rice with quinoa to adding it to your side dish, all your meals can benefit from this high-quality whole food protein boost.
We hope you add some of these wholesome and healthy plant-based protein alternatives to your diets! Share your favorite plant-based proteins in the comments below. We would love to hear from you.
Stay vibrant, happy & healthy!