Best Plant-Based Protein Foods
More and more people are interested in following vegetarian or vegan diets or reducing their use of animal products. A shift away from animal products is getting easier with more fortified and nutritious plant-based foods available, and higher-protein diets can promote muscle strength, satiety and weight loss. Nevertheless, there is a common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they might lack protein.
Nature has made sure we are protected against a protein deficiency, as whole grains, vegetables, and legumes are excellent sources. Legumes, in particular, are rich in fiber, high in nutrients, low in saturated fat, and cholesterol-free.
Today I'm going to share with you my favorite sources of protein for a plant-based diet. Hope you will find them useful. The following healthful, plant-based foods have a high-protein content per serving:
1. Tofu, edamame & tempeh
Soy products such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame are among the richest sources of protein in a vegan diet. Tofu takes on the flavor of the dish it is prepared in so that it can be a versatile addition to a meal. You can try tofu, as a meat substitute, in a favorite sandwich or soup. These soy products also contain good levels of calcium and iron, which makes them healthful substitutes for dairy products.
2. Peanuts and other nuts
Peanuts are my favorite, they are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. They contain around 20.5 g of protein per ½ cup. Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 8 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack.
Cashews, almonds, and pistachios contain high amounts of proteins than other nuts like hazelnuts, so buy a mixed bag of preferable ones.
3. Chickpeas & other beans
Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of bean contain high amounts of protein per serving. Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup. They are also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and more. Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans can decrease cholesterol, help control blood sugar levels, and lower blood pressure.
Another excellent source of protein comes via lentils. One cup of cooked lentils provides about 18g of protein and 15g of fiber, and it has virtually no saturated fat or sodium.
Seeds are powerhouses of protein as well. Sunflower seeds, for instance, contain 3.3g of protein per 100 calories. Plus, they're super versatile to use. Like nuts, you could toss them into your porridge, cornflakes or muesli, toast lightly and sprinkle as toppings on soups, or pop into stir-fries and salad dressings.
6. My discovery of the year: amaranth
Amaranth grains are an excellent source of high-quality proteins. Gluten free and a source of complete protein, amaranth contains all the essential amino acids, including lysine, which is lacking in most grains. Not only is amaranth grain packed with protein, but it's also full of calcium and antioxidants and makes an amazingly healthy. The most important health benefits of amaranth grain include its ability to protect the heart, boost the immune system, strengthen bones, and optimize digestion. Let me know if you’d like to learn my favorite recipe of amaranth pancakes!
So these are my favorite plant-based sources of protein. And what are your favorite? Are there many vegetarians among my readers here? Please share in comments! I'm curious. Have a wonderful day!