If you’re like most people, you may think that the best place to get protein is in meat and other animal products. That’s the question every vegetarian/vegan gets… “but where do you get your protein?” It’s certain that many people may not know of non-meat protein options, so I’m here to share some alternative options.
Plant-based protein is just that – protein found in plant-based foods. So, where does this protein come from? What foods contain it?
Here are a few plant-based foods that are excellent protein sources:
Hemp Seeds. Hemp seeds contain 10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons, and this comes with plenty of healthy fat to help the protein absorb. Hemp seeds also contain more fiber than their hulled version called hemp hearts. You can add hemp seeds to your smoothies, use it on top of a salad or oatmeal, add it to any dessert or you can even use it to make hemp seed milk.
Lentils. One cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein, which can already be enough for an entire meal! You can eat lentils on its own, you can add it to salads, you can even turn it into vegetarian or vegan burgers.
Quinoa. Per cup quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, which makes it perfect to add to your meals. Use it as a substitute for rice, add into your salads, or make a vegetable quinoa bowl with scrambled egg for breakfast. Quinoa has a slight nutty taste but be sure to rinse it before cooking to remove the saponins that make it taste bitter. It is also very versatile so you can find a place to pop it into nearly any meal.
Nuts. Some of my favorites are walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews. One fourth of a cup already contains about 8 grams of protein. They’re also rich in minerals, vitamins, and healthy fats. You can eat a handful as a snack or incorporate them into all sorts of dishes. Be sure to watch your portion sizes though as a small handful of nuts can add up those calories very quickly.
It’s important to note that if you’ve switch to a vegan diet (no animal products at all) that you combine various sources of protein throughout the day. This will ensure you get all of the important and essential amino acids for optimal health.
Whether you eat meat or not, adding these plant-based protein sources into your meals is something you can do easily. Try experimenting with a few different options to boost your protein intake.