Plant-based protein or whole plant foods is becoming more and more common in our diets these days. But what exactly is it?
There is a multitude of the best plant-based protein sources that can be found in various foods, including grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Listing the 15 best plant-based protein foods you can try if you’re in dire need of a guide in finding your alternative protein source. More and more people are interested in following vegetarian or vegan diets or reducing their use of animal products, the reason why some producers are turning to plant proteins as alternatives to animal products is that they are good for us and also better for the environment.
Finding a complete protein source is a little difficult to do if you are trying to lose weight by staying away from regular meat. The search for vegetarian or vegan protein sources has come a long way and even non-vegetarian and non-vegan people are trying to incorporate plant-based proteins into their diets. You can increase your protein intake by choosing different sources of plant-based protein.
How much protein do you need?
Your protein needs would depend on your age, sex, and activity level. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight or about 55 grams per day for the average adult. However, athletes and people who are highly active may need more protein which in this case they consume protein powders that are mostly made from a variety of plant-based protein sources like hemp and soybeans.
Animal sources are considered to contain complete proteins although some plant protein sources are incomplete protein sources such as nuts and seeds, there are still complete sources of protein that you can find in plants such as soy products.
It’s important to get enough protein, but you don’t need to overdo it. Eating too much protein can lead to weight gain and other health problems. You would still need to be mindful of your protein per calorie intake. It’s important to have protein in our diets but too much of anything is always bad.
Top 15 Plant-Based Protein Foods
If you’re trying to increase your protein intake, the best way is through whole food sources like high-protein vegetables. Plant-based eating doesn’t have to be boring and bland as long as you know the best plant-based foods that you need to buy on your next grocery trip. Here are the top 15 best plant-based proteins that offer high-quality protein, great taste, and are good for your health.
There is a wide range of health benefits from eating lentils that’s why it is included in the top protein-based food. They are an especially great source of fiber because of their high fiber content, and the majority of their calories come from carbohydrates rather than proteins, making them a low-fat source of protein. The protein and other nutrients it contains include potassium, iron, vitamin B, magnesium, and zinc. In terms of protein, content lentils will always be at the top with 18 grams of protein per serving.
Edamame is a form of soybean typically sold frozen. Soybeans are high in protein and low in calories and fat, making them a popular choice for weight loss diets. Edamame is used in a variety of ways from stir fries to smoothies and even desserts. Edamame is a very versatile food and can be used as an appetizer or side dish at any time of the year. You can check out some healthy edamame recipes so that you can include them on your plant-based diet and upscale the way you eat your protein source!
Almonds are a great source of protein and fiber, making them a heart-healthy choice. They also have high levels of Vitamin E and “good” fats. Studies show that women who eat almonds tend to have lower body fat, lower cholesterol, and better overall health. Almond milk is a great alternative for milk sources for vegans.
Seitan is a protein-rich food made from wheat gluten. It’s low in calories but high in protein; especially when compared to other vegetarian meats. It’s also very versatile, easy to make at home, and can be used as a vegetarian substitute for meat in stews, casseroles, and soups.
Hemp seeds are an outstanding form of protein that can be used in a variety of recipes to help boost the protein content of meals. Hemp seeds also provide extra nutrition and health benefits. Higher in protein amount than most. The standard measurement of hemp seeds protein per serving is 3 tablespoons, equal to 9 grams of protein.
Quinoa has that coveted “whole grain” label, but its nutritional profile is even more impressive than regular whole grains. It contains all the essential amino acids making it a complete plant protein source. This superfood is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. It also ranks very high in micronutrients like magnesium, manganese, and iron. In fact, quinoa has nearly twice as much fiber as brown rice or pasta!
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that has a nutty or cheesy flavor. It is sold in both flakes and powder form, is sometimes fortified with vitamin B12 and folic acid, and is often grown on beet molasses instead of being cultivated through the use of chemicals or other drugs. Nutritional yeast is high in protein and contains many vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, iron, chromium, and selenium. Because of this, it can be used to replace dietary supplements when taken in large doses.
Peanut butter is one of the highest protein-based food in the world! The high protein amount found in peanuts is perfect for fueling your body with energy and helping build muscle. Peanuts also contain healthy unsaturated fats and vitamin E that help improve skin health. A vegan diet may have peanut butter in the recipe because not only does it contain protein but it is a very versatile ingredient that makes dishes delicious.
Protein is found in peas. Peas are made up of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients we need to stay healthy. Protein is important for the growth, development, and maintenance of body tissues like bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin. Peas have an equivalent of 8 grams of protein per cup.
Sun-dried tomatoes are very high in protein. They contain more protein than any other commercially available vegetable. They are also a good source of carbs and fiber, providing you with much-needed energy to get through your day. And let’s not forget the powerful antioxidants found in sun-dried tomatoes compared to raw tomatoes!
Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein. In fact, their protein content is superior to that of other nuts and seeds. Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass and helping you feel full longer. The amount of protein in chia seeds is high along with its fiber content making this superfood great for digestion and therefore can help with weight loss.
Tofu is made from the curd of soybeans. It is one of the most versatile dishes out there since a lot of recipes use it as a meat alternative. It’s packed with protein and not just any protein, but complete and high-quality protein. It is a top plant-based proteins source because of its high protein content like lentils. In fact, out of all the non-meat sources of protein, tofu packs the most into a 100-gram serving!
Tempeh is a great source of protein and fiber. It has a unique and nutty taste that can be used in soups, stews, stir-fries, grain dishes, and more! The fermentation process that results in tempeh increases digestibility and breaks down the complex proteins so they are easier to digest.
Ezekiel bread is a whole-grain, high-protein food that can be used to replace animal protein in your diet. It incorporates legumes, grains, and seeds, making it a wholesome choice for vegetarians who want to maintain their protein intake. The 4 grams of protein per slice makes it one of the healthiest bread you can try.
Soy milk can provide you with the essential nutrients needed for your body. The protein content is perfect for anyone looking to add more lean protein to their diet, especially if you’re lactose intolerant or vegan and want a healthier alternative to dairy products.
Vegan and veggie eating made easier
Whether you are a vegan or vegetarian eating can be made easier by following a few simple tips. First, focus on getting enough protein from plant-based sources such as beans, lentils, quinoa, and nuts. Second, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables of all different colors for optimum nutrition. Third, cook simple meals at home using fresh ingredients rather than processed foods. By following these tips, you can make vegan and veggie eating easier and more enjoyable and you get to change your lifestyle into a healthier and greener one with the use of these plant-based protein sources.
Daily protein intake is good for our body as long as it’s the right amount that we consume as too much may result in weight issues leading to several health problems as well. There is also a misconception that protein supplements like protein powders are a good replacement for proteins from animal sources as they are plant-based protein powders. This is wrong as there have been studies that prolonged intake of protein powders may not be good as some of them even contain sugar and other additives which may cause weight gain and high blood sugar. It is only recommended for people with active lifestyles such as gymgoers and athletes.
Please take note that the best way to make sure you have enough protein is to have at least one source of plant protein in every meal or snack. You can also check some resources on how to grow your tomatoes from seeds, how to grow your own herbal tea, how to grow your own lettuce, and many more!