Plant based protein can be hard to come by. It is an essential element for the proper function of a healthy body. Not only that, but it can be found in plentiful amounts from plant based sources.
Protein is pretty powerful. It boasts benefits to virtually every single part of your body. Every single cell in the human body contains protein. It’s found in hair, muscle and collagen. It improves muscle mass and strength, manages your ideal weight, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Also, it can improve your mood, boosts brain health, maintains strong bones, improves heart health, and also slows down the signs of aging. Protein boosts metabolism and increases fat burning. It also speeds up recovery after intense exercise or if you are injured.
Contrary to what many people think, you don’t get all your protein needs from lean meat alone. If you’re a practicing vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of plant based protein alternatives out there where you can get your protein fix.
Keep in mind that that the recommended amount of protein you should take in every day depends on your body weight. The Dietary Reference Intake or DRI suggests 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound.
So without further ado, here’s a list of the top foods you should be munching on to get your much-needed protein. And don’t worry, we promise you they’re vegan friendly!
These seemingly small morsels pack a lot of protein power. Aside from protein, they’re great for the heart and brain as well. What I like about nuts is they can be used in many different ways. You can add them to your favorite cake or cookie or bread, mix them in salads, use them in soups, or simply munch on a handful. Good snacking options are almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios.
2. Brussels Sprouts
This innocuous vegetable has a surprisingly high amount of protein. Just a cup of these sprouts provides you with 4 grams of the stuff.
Lentils are low in calories but high in fiber and protein. How high? Well, one cup of cooked lentils is equivalent to 18 grams of protein. Aside from that, they contain other micronutrients, like vitamin K, dietary fibre, folate, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and niacin. They are also effective in lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of heart disease. In addition, they promote good digestion and aid weight loss.
4. Wild Rice
Here’s another option for grains that give you protein (sorry, quinoa). According to the USDA, cup of cooked wild rice gives you 6.5 grams of protein. In addition, it also provides your body with dietary fiber, manganese, zinc, magnesium, and essential B vitamins. These improve nerve function and brain function and also help in blood production and circulation as well as in bone formation. Wild rice has a nutty taste and a slightly chewy texture, which makes it perfect for adding to salads. You can easily cook them in a good rice cooker.
All these have one thing in common: they originate from soybeans, one of the most popular sources of plant based protein. And soybeans are a complete protein. Tofu is made from pressed bean curds in a process similar to cheese-making. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans. Afterward, you press them into a patty. And finally, edamame are immature soybeans that are either steamed or boiled before eating. Of the three, cooked edamame is the one with the highest protein content, which is around 18 grams per serving (yep, that’s a lot). Tempeh follows with a close 16 grams, and tofu has around 8–15 grams per serving. Make sure you get the organic varieties of these three to ensure you don’t ingest genetically modified soy and harmful pesticides.
Guava is considered the tropical fruit with the highest protein content. In just one cup, it possesses 4.2 grams. On top of that, it also provides your body with 9 grams of fiber, just 112 calories, and 600 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.
7. Peanut Butter
top ten: plant based protein
Two tablespoons of peanut butter yields 7 grams of protein. Slather on some bread for a filling, high protein snack! According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating peanuts prevents both cardiovascular and coronary artery disease. Make sure to use the unsalted and no-sugar-added options.
8. Green Peas
top ten: plant based protein
Though they may be tiny, a cup of these babies produce 8 grams of protein. They also possess a high vitamin C content and are also rich in leucine – an amino acid that is essential to proper metabolism and healthy weight loss.
Here’s yet another vegetable that surprisingly is a good source of protein. One cup of broccoli yields about 8.1 grams of beneficial protein. Broccoli also has a ton of antioxidants that fight off harmful free radicals, amino acids, and fiber.
10. Hemp Seeds
You can add hemp seeds to absolutely anything. They’re great in soups, salads, sandwiches, main courses, smoothies, dips, dressings, baked goods. And the list goes on. Around 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds contains 10 grams of plant based protein. They also provide omega-3 fatty acids which can be hard to come by on a vegan diet. These taste a bit sweet and nutty, so adding them to your food is virtually undetectable.