Plant-based diets can be incredibly healthy and nutritious, but one of the biggest challenges for plant-based eaters is finding reliable sources of protein. Protein plays a vital role in your health and well-being, so you must include adequate amounts of it every day.
To help fill the gap in protein sources, plant-based eaters turn to vegan proteins such as tempeh and tofu. These soy-based products can provide ample amounts of protein in each serving. Nuts such as almonds and cashews are also full of essential fatty acids and protein.
At the same time, seeds like chia or hemp contain plenty of both amino acids and healthy fats. These foods make excellent sources for anyone wanting to increase their dietary intake of plant-based proteins.
Another option for plant-based proteins is legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas. These have long been staples in many traditional diets worldwide. Legumes provide reasonable amounts of protein and other vital nutrients, including fiber, which helps with digestion and blood sugar stabilization.
Oats are another excellent source that can provide a breakfast staple or snack with just a few simple ingredients added to them for flavor.
Of course, powders or bars always offer the option to supplement your diet with vegan proteins. However, this may take some trial and error before finding something enjoyable, as different brands offer different flavors and textures that some find rather unpleasant.
Let’s dig into some of our favorite plant-based protein sources and a yummy, easy-to-prepare plant-based recipe dish high in protein.
Quinoa is a small grain from South America that has recently gained popularity due to its excellent nutritional profile. It’s considered one of the more complete plant-based proteins because it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Per cup (185 grams), quinoa provides 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of dietary fiber, which helps promote gut health.
Quinoa also contains complex carbs and minerals such as iron, zinc, and magnesium – which are essential for supporting energy levels throughout the day. Additionally, quinoa is high in antioxidants which help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Quinoa can be cooked and served like rice or used as a substitute for oats or bulgur wheat in recipes like salads or pilafs.
Tofu is another incredibly popular plant-based source of protein made from soybeans that have been used for centuries across Asia as a vegetarian alternative to meat products such as ground beef or chicken.
Per half cup (126 grams), tofu provides 10 grams of protein without any cholesterol or saturated fat – making it an ideal way to get adequate amounts without adversely affecting your cholesterol levels or increasing your heart disease/stroke risk.
Tofu also contains many essential minerals like iron & calcium, along with vitamins E & K, which help support healthier skin & bones. Tofu has low calories compared to meat proteins, so you can enjoy it without impacting your waistline.
There are countless recipes available for incorporating tofu into meals, such as stir-fries. One thing remains true no matter how you prepare it – tofu makes an excellent vegetarian substitute!
Rice & Beans Together
Rice & beans together form an infallible combination for getting your daily recommended intake of plant-based proteins – they both independently contain enough proteins. Still, when combined, they become even more powerful!
White rice has around 4 grams/cup while black beans provide 15 grams/cup – combining these two creates a powerhouse base with 19gms per cup!
This combination also provides plenty of dietary fiber required for proper digestion along with essential vitamins & minerals like magnesium which supports bone health & selenium, which works towards better immune system functioning, amongst other things!
Rice & beans together can be served either hot or cold, depending on how you prefer them. Whatever form they take – this combo is a surefire way to get some quality vegan nutrition without compromising on taste whatsoever!
Green vegetables should not be overlooked when searching for quality vegan proteins since many offer surprisingly good amounts minus all fat & cholesterol traditionally associated with meats – broccoli being one notable example providing 3gms/cup.
Not only does eating green vegetables provide much-needed nutrients, but studies have shown eating them regularly may lead to reduced risk of disease due to their high lycopene content.
Additionally, greens like spinach pack plenty of calcium, making them beneficial for strengthening bones and helping maintain blood pressure at healthy levels. Something all plant-based eaters should strive towards keeping in check regularly. Green vegetables can be eaten raw as part of salads, while cooked ones work best alongside dishes featuring other starches such as potatoes or grains like quinoa – resulting in a pretty filling meal perfect lunchtime bite anytime.
Lentils are another fantastic option. Lentils are an incredible source of plant-based protein. They’re also high in dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals, making them a great nutrient-rich food for vegetarians, vegans, and everyone else!
Compared to other legumes, lentils have a relatively low glycemic index and are generally easier on the digestive system than beans. Lentils make for a fantastic addition to any meal or snack.
Chickpeas are an incredibly versatile legume that comes in various shapes and sizes, including garbanzo beans (the most common type).
Chickpeas have long been used as an alternative to meat due to their high content of plant-based protein – per cup (164 grams), they provide 12 grams of protein and 11 grams of dietary fiber.
Chickpeas are also an excellent source of vitamins B6 & C, as well as folate, which helps with cell development and tissue repair. There are numerous ways to enjoy chickpeas, including using them to make hummus or adding them to salads or soups for added texture and flavor.
Delicious Vegan Hummus Recipe
Hummus is the perfect plant-based protein recipe because it’s both easy to make and packed with protein and other nutrients. Hummus contains chickpeas, a great fiber and protein source, and provides essential vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, since hummus can be seasoned with spices like garlic, cumin, turmeric, and more, you can easily customize it to fit your taste preferences.
You can also enjoy hummus in a variety of ways – from spreading it on toast or bagels to dipping vegetables into it or using it as a topping for salads or steamed veggies. No matter how you eat hummus, it’s sure to become one of your favorite plant-based protein recipes!
• 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 2 tablespoons tahini
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or more to taste)
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until it’s the consistency of a thick paste.
2. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while blending the hummus until it reaches your desired consistency.
3. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if desired.
4. Serve with pita bread, crackers, or your favorite vegetable dippers for an easy snack or appetizer.
Nutritional Facts: makes 4 servings, 282 calories, 16g fat, 29g carbs, 6g dietary fiber, 7g protein
Supporting Your Brain Health
A plant-based diet can be wonderfully healthy and nutritious, but it is important to ensure that your brain is getting the nutrients it needs for optimal functioning. The best way to ensure your brain is getting all the minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients necessary for it to function correctly is to eat a well-balanced plant-based diet full of whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Finally, make sure you stay hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day and get enough sleep at night. By eating mostly a plant-based, protein-rich diet and following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your brain can continue functioning optimally!