If you’re trying to follow a plant-based diet, or want to incorporate more plant-based foods into your life for other reasons, it can be tricky to get enough protein. Many foods that are considered “plant-based” actually contain a lot of animal products, like cheese and eggs (both of which I love). This isn’t always the case, but it’s one example of how people who aren’t familiar with veganism might think it’s impossible to get enough protein if they don’t eat meat or dairy products. And while some plant proteins may not have as much bioavailability as animal proteins do (meaning our bodies can’t use them as well), there are plenty of ways around this!
Soy beans are a great source of protein, containing about 7 grams per cup. They’re also a good source of fiber and contain vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium and potassium. Soybeans are commonly used in vegan recipes because they’re easy to use in place of meat products like ground beef or chicken breast. But there’s more than one way to enjoy soybeans! You can eat them straight out of the can (though we recommend adding some salt), take them with you on-the-go in their own container or blend them into a smoothie at home before leaving for work in the morning by prepping ahead so it’s ready when you need it most!
Edamame is a Japanese name for soybeans. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and are high in protein, fiber and iron. Edamame also contains vitamins C, E and K–the antioxidant vitamins that help your body fight off free radicals that cause damage to cells and DNA.
Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein. They’re also high in fiber, which helps you stay full longer and regulate your blood sugar. Lentils also contain iron, folate and magnesium–all nutrients that help the body absorb vitamin C. So why would we recommend eating lentils? Because they’re delicious! You can cook them up as a soup or stew, throw them into salads or stir fries…the options are endless!
Tofu is made from soybean curd, which is a protein-rich substance produced by coagulating soy milk. Tofu can be found in many different textures, including soft, firm and extra-firm. The texture of tofu depends on how much water has been pressed out of it during the manufacturing process–the more water that’s removed from the curds before they’re packaged into blocks or cakes (or used as ingredients in other foods), the firmer they become. Tofu is available at most grocery stores and supermarkets worldwide; you can also find it online or at Asian markets if your local store doesn’t carry it yet! It’s great for cooking because it has very little taste on its own so will readily absorb any flavors added to your meal while retaining its chewy texture–this makes it ideal for stir fries or casseroles where you want something firm enough not fall apart when mixed with other ingredients but soft enough not require extra prep time like chopping vegetables would require before adding them into your dish.*
Red Beans are a great source of plant-based protein. They’re low in fat and high in fiber, making them an excellent choice for people who want to eat healthier but don’t have time to cook every single meal from scratch! Red beans are also rich in iron and magnesium. Iron helps you build red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body, while magnesium contributes to normal energy metabolism by helping convert food into energy.
Chickpeas are a highly versatile legume that can be used in savory dishes, desserts and even smoothies. They’re high in protein (about 15 grams per cup) and fiber (8 grams per cup). They also contain iron, magnesium and other minerals.
Lima beans are a good source of plant-based protein, iron and magnesium. They’re also rich in fiber and potassium–a mineral that helps you maintain healthy blood pressure levels. In fact, 1 cup (198 grams) of lima beans provides nearly half the daily value for folate–a B vitamin that plays an important role in cell growth. Lima beans provide about 8 grams of protein per cup cooked (250 grams). This amount is similar to what you’d get from other legumes such as chickpeas or kidney beans but less than black beans’ 12 grams per cup cooked (240 grams).
Peas are a great source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins. They can be eaten raw or cooked in many different ways. Peas are delicious on their own or mixed with other veggies in salads or soups. They also make an excellent addition to stews and casseroles because they’re soft enough to blend into the dish without becoming mushy when cooked at a low temperature for longer periods of time (unlike other legumes). Peas have a mild flavor that goes well with just about anything!
Quinoa is a seed that’s related to spinach, beets and tumbleweeds. It’s actually a complete protein–meaning it has all nine essential amino acids–and contains more protein than rice, wheat and corn. Quinoa also provides iron (a mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout your body), magnesium (which helps regulate blood pressure), calcium (for strong bones and teeth), phosphorus (for bone health) and vitamin B6 (which supports nerve function). Quinoa is gluten-free, which makes it safe for those with celiac disease or other forms of gluten intolerance. However if you’re going plant-based because you want to avoid animal products altogether rather than just dairy or eggs then quinoa may not be right for you: some varieties are grown using fish emulsion fertilizer so they contain traces of mercury depending on where they’re grown!
Soy milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk. It’s high in protein, calcium and has a low glycemic index. Soy milk has all the benefits of dairy milk without the animal products or cholesterol! Soybeans are one of nature’s richest sources of plant-based protein, containing all essential amino acids that our bodies need to build muscle. A single serving (1 cup) contains 7 grams of protein!
Oat bran is a good source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It also contains B vitamins and magnesium that support energy levels, brain function, heart health, and more. Add oats to your diet by making them the base for your morning smoothie or adding them into baked goods like muffins or cookies!
Lentil flour is an excellent source of protein, making it a great option for plant-based eaters who want to increase their daily intake. Lentil flour can be incorporated into many different recipes, including breads and pizza crusts. It’s also good news if you’re gluten intolerant (or just trying to avoid gluten).
Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense plants you can eat. It’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support your body in many ways. Spinach contains high amounts of iron and magnesium–two nutrients that are often lacking in a plant-based diet. Spinach also contains vitamin K which helps build strong bones by helping calcium get absorbed into the bloodstream so it can be used by your body (1). In addition to being rich in calcium, spinach has been shown to improve bone density as well as reduce risk for fractures in postmenopausal women (2). Spinach is also a good source of fiber which helps keep you feeling full longer so you don’t overindulge on unhealthy foods later on!
Pumpkin seeds are a good source of plant-based protein, fiber, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are also high in monounsaturated fats which help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. Pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw or roasted (which makes them crunchier) and they taste great when added to any dish that needs some extra crunchiness!
I hope that this list has helped you to find some new plant-based protein sources. Remember, there are so many options out there and each one of them can help you reach your goals. If you want something simple, try adding more tofu into your diet or cooking up some quinoa with chickpeas for lunch tomorrow!