Protein is one of the most talked-about subjects when it comes to health and nutrition. What most people don’t know is that from leafy greens to seeds, whole foods are a great source of protein. A common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they might lack sufficient protein. However, many experts agree that a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can provide all the nutrients you need, without having to consume animal protein. Certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others and diets richer in protein can promote muscle strength, satiety and weight loss. Here are a few plant-based sources that contain a high amount of protein per serving.
Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheese making. Tofu is a good source of protein and contains all eight essential amino acids. It is also an excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. What used to be seen as a boring vegan protein source, has now been transformed into everything from breakfast to entrees, and yes, even desserts too. This protein source’s main attractive nature is that it can be flavoured however you want and adds a rich, creamy texture or chewy texture to your food, depending whether it’s firm or soft tofu.
2.) Peas and beans:
Beans are health-promoting protein packed legumes that contain a variety of vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant components. The protein in chickpeas may help promote fullness and keep your appetite under control and maintain muscle strength. Chickpeas can, for example, be added to stews and curries, used in salads or prepared as hummus. This chickpea spread is excellent for adding to a sandwich for a healthful, protein-rich alternative to butter. Another great legume abundant in protein are split peas. These are low in fat and a good source of protein. Split peas are widely used in cuisines and are also used to make pea protein isolate, which is used a plant-based protein supplement option. Our LEANTM Pea Protein is made from high quality European yellow split peas.
3.) Nuts and seeds:
Nuts and seeds are make for excellent snacks and can be easily added to your diet. Not only are they bursting in essential micro-nutrients, they are also a source of each of the three macro-nutrients, containing large amounts of protein, complex carbs and healthy fat. High protein nuts and seeds include hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, cashews, and more. Peanuts for example, are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. For a vegan option and protein packed peanut butter spread, you can try our Natural Vegan High Protein Peanut Butter Spread.
4.) Fresh vegetables:
All vegetables contain protein, but some contain more than others. Fresh vegetables are lower in saturated fat, higher in dietary fiber than protein animal sources, and when regularly eaten can help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Remember to eat to your greens! Additionally, although technically a grain, sweet corn is a common food that contains about as much protein as the high-protein vegetables mentioned above.
Spirulina is abundant in protein and one of the few sources of plant-based protein that is mostly made of this macronutrient, by dry weight (about 70% protein). Spirulina is mostly available in the form of powder or a supplement. It can be added to water, smoothies, or fruit juice. You can also sprinkle it over salad or snacks to increase their protein content.
One struggle that many people have is that they are unsure of how to replace the meat on their plate with a plant-based protein they will love and enjoy as much as meat. However, by eating less meat, you are more likely to have better bone health, have less inflammation and the floaty happy feeling that comes with knowing you ate your veggies! So, incorporate some, if not all, of the plant-based proteins mentioned and enjoy a healthier and cleaner way of life!