Whether for health or dietary concerns, for the planet, or for the animals, many people choose to not consume animal products.
From a nutritional standpoint, eliminating meat and dairy from your diet can create a protein-shaped hole that needs filling. Nutritionists suggest a daily intake of 56g of protein for an average man and 46g for an average woman. If one exercises regularly or is trying to gain muscle mass, this will need to be higher.
The good news is that replacing meat-based protein in your diet with healthy, nutritious plant-based alternatives has never been easier! Obtaining adequate plant-based protein is surprisingly simple – you just need to make a few adjustments to your meals, as well as adding a few ingredients to your food cupboard.
Listed below are five of the most protein-rich plant-based foods:
1) Hemp protein powder
There is no easier way to get a huge, well-rounded serving of protein: covering the entire range of amino acids our body needs, hemp protein has it all. Organic hemp protein powder contains a massive 47g of protein per10og serving. One heaped tablespoon (approximately 1og) and you have a solid 4.7g of protein right there! Hemp protein also contains high levels of the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6, helping to promote a healthy heart.
Not only does hemp protein provide such a quantity of protein, but it is also of a very high quality. It contains all of the 12 essential amino acids that the body cannot make by itself. Hemp protein also helps to lower cholesterol, improve circulation, and it can also aid in weight loss. It is highly digestible, making it easy for
your body to absorb the benefits.
The easiest and tastiest way to get hemp into your diet is by adding 1-3 tablespoons into your cereal, soup or smoothie.
Seeds may be small, but they are powerful stores of protein. An incredibly tasty and nutritious source of protein, seeds are also bursting with vitamins and minerals.
Let’s take a look at four of the most popular seeds: sunflower seeds provide selenium, phosphorus, vitamins B1 and B6; poppy seeds contain antioxidants, alpha-linoleic acid, B vitamins, iron, niacin and folic acid; pumpkin seeds are high in potassium, iron, fibre and zinc; and linseed has large amounts of Omega 3, as well as manganese, copper and zinc.
Seed mixes can contain 25g or more protein per 10og, which makes them a great way to get more plant-based protein in your diet. Try sprinkling seed mixes over your breakfast, adding them to a salad, or even eating them as a crunchy snack. Also, try buying seeded bread over its sugary, nutritionally-lacking white counterpart.
Flaked, roasted, raw; as a snack or in a meal; nut butters, nut loaves – there are endless ways to get more nuts into your life! Nuts are so easy to incorporate into your diet, and they contain really high levels of protein.
Peanuts contain 28g of protein per 10og; almonds have 23. 4g per 10og; hazelnuts, cashew nuts and brazil nuts have over 15g per 10og Add in lots of minerals (including iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium) and antioxidants, and you have a delicious, powerful addition to your protein arsenal. Don’t worry about saturated plant fats – these are of the healthy variety!
One of the most well-known vegetarian sources of protein, beans provide a real protein punch – up to 25g of per 100g depending on the type. Brimming with essential nutrients, including iron, potassium, as well as antioxidants, beans are incredibly versatile and easy to integrate into your meals They work great in stews and soups, as well as curries, salads and oven dishes. Black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, haricot beans, pinto beans, adzuki beans, green beans, edamame beans – there are so many types to choose from, you’ll be sure to find something to like.
The best has been saved until last – spirulina is a dark green powder made from a type of freshwater algae. Whilst it may not sound particularly appetising, it is one of the densest sources of plant protein there is – containing up to a staggering 65g of protein per 10og! Adding a spoonful into a smoothie or juice mix is a fantastic way to up your protein intake.
Aside from its massive protein content, spirulina is also a fantastic source of iron, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin B1, 32, B3 and 35. There’s a reason spirulina had become incredibly popular in recent years!