A common question when following a plant-based diet is, “Where do I get my protein?” Generally, people think of meat, fish and eggs as the only sources of quality protein, when in fact, there are many plant-based protein options that are great for maintaining muscles mass, stoking metabolism and great for recovery after a sweat session. While a plant-based diet may not work for everyone, incorporating a wide array of plant-based foods into one’s diet can certainly be beneficial for all of us!
Here are 7 sources of plant-based protein you can include in your diet on a regular basis:
1. Spirulina – this blue green algae contains all essential amino acids and is 60% protein. You can find it in tablet form or powder. I use 1 tsp in my smoothies almost daily. It’s great for alkalizing your body and full of minerals.
2. Hemp – not only a rich source of hypo allergenic protein, hemp also contains the perfect ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats. You can find this in a powder form or seeds (sometimes called hemp hearts). From adding them to smoothies, baking, granola, or sprinkling in a salad, I find I just can’t get enough of these heart healthy gems.
3. Quinoa – an amazingly rich source of protein, quinoa provides almost 11g of plant-based protein per 1 cup serving. Best part is, it’s also gluten-free! You can serve this up sweet or savoury as it works in many dishes.
4. Nut butters – in about 2 tablespoons you get close to 8 grams of plant-based protein, plus a healthy dose of hormone balancing fats. From spreading nut butter onto your favourite fruits or veggies, or adding into smoothies or spreading onto toast; there are many ways to enjoy nut butters.
5. Lentils – full of fibre, magnesium and folate, lentils are amazing for protecting your heart. Plus they contain close to 18 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. That’s a lot for a tiny legume. From lentil burgers, to soups, stews or stir frys, there are many ways to get creative with lentils.
6. Chickpeas – Another great bean to use for soups or stews, chickpeas contain 15 grams of protein per 1 cup serving. They also contain a ton of heart healthy fibre which is also beneficial for balancing blood sugar.
7. Chia – in just 2 tablespoons of chia, you get 4 grams of protein. Chia seeds also contain a ton of omega 3 fats and fibre. They make the perfect addition to a morning smoothie or sprinkled onto a salad or added into your water with some lemon.
There are many ways to include protein on plant-based diet. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different nuts and seeds, beans and legumes or super foods such as spirulina. Including variety will ensure you get quality sources of protein that will support your overall health.
Samantha graduated as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition; is a Hatha Yoga Instructor, Qualitarian Pioneer & holds a Bachelor Degree in World Religion and Arts.