I’ve been talking a lot lately about the importance of plant diversity on your plate. Even if you enjoy animal protein, it’s important to have a plant “focused” plate keeping animal protein to a minimum with the majority of your meal coming from plants. I encourage my clients to opt for meat-free nights to build in more plants.
Many people assume that as a vegan or vegetarian, you can’t get enough protein into your diet without relying on protein supplements or powders.
However, this isn’t true! Being a vegan just means that meeting your protein needs requires a little extra planning day to day!
So for some extra help, I’m sharing some high-protein vegan-friendly foods to get you started.
Beans are high in protein, with kidney beans having 9g protein per ½ cup. Not only this, but beans also contain tons of fiber and B Vitamins, making them fantastic for your gut health, energy, blood sugar levels, and satiety. They’re a great vegan protein source, as they can easily be made to taste more “meaty” or wholesome by adding spices and herbs. I recommend putting a piece of “kombu” seaweed in when you cook them to help them be more digestible.
½ cup of cooked lentils contains about 9g of protein, making them another great vegan option! Lentils are also rich in iron and folate, and contain tons of polyphenols and antioxidants, even helping reduce the risk of heart disease. Again, I recommend adding a piece of kombu seaweed when you cook them to help with digestion.
Chickpeas have 20g of protein per ½ cup, and are also a rich source of fiber and vitamins. Chickpeas improve digestion and help stabilize blood sugar levels – not to mention super delicious roasted, in curries, or in stir-fries!
Is one of the most protein rich foods we can eat! It contains all 9 essential amino acids. 1 cup of quinoa contains almost 9g of protein per serving. Quinoa was discovered by the Inca’s over 3,000 years ago and was considered the “gold of the Inca’s”. It was later named the “Supergrain of the future”. It’s beautifully rich in iron, magnesium, lysine, riboflavin, and has almost double the amount of fiber than most other grains. Now that is a “super” grain.
Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and contains around 19g of protein per ½ cup. The fermentation process makes tempeh great for your gut. It contains prebiotics, and may benefit your digestion and cholesterol levels! Try pan-frying tempeh and adding it to salads!
- Hemp seeds
Hemp seeds are a nutrient powerhouse, containing 33g of quality protein per ½ cup. They contain all 9 essential amino acids, making them a complete source of protein, as well as being a great source of essential fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. Sprinkle them into your smoothie, oats or salad, or add them into your baking – they are so versatile!
As you can see there are many options to include protein into a healthy plant-based diet! I challenge you to start adding “meat-free” nights to your weekly menu.
Remember, you can also add in a healthy protein powder as a convenient option (I love it in my smoothies) to get enough protein into your day. Here is my favorite that also contains prebiotics and probiotics to help with digestion and overall gut health: https://www.amare.com/13176/en-US/GBXProtein
Here are a couple of my favorite plant-based recipes from my blog!
In Good Health!