Best Sources of Plant Based Proteins
By Marisela Corrado
If you’ve ever considered trying a raw or vegan diet, you’ve probably wondered where you’ll be able to get your daily serving of protein. There are a lot of great sources of plant-based proteins that will allow you to live the dietary lifestyle you choose while still giving your body the protein it needs.
What is Protein?
Protein can be found in a variety of plant and animal sources. It’s made up of amino acids, linked together in long chains. The length of the chain and order of the amino acid determines the structure and function of the protein. Some amino acids can’t be synthesized in the body and must be obtained through food sources. Amino acids are essential to keep the body functioning and healthy.
Protein brings energy (calories) for your body. It helps your body build and repair tissues, works with your body to help with blood clotting, fluid balance, improve immune response, and produce hormones and enzymes. Protein foods also help bring your body the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Where Can I Get Plant Based Proteins?
Protein is typically found in a wide variety of foods. Most people know that protein can be found in beef, chicken, pork, and other meats. What they don’t know is that it can be found in beans, peas, grains, tofu, soybeans, and vegetables -in plentiful amounts!
Many people like to get their protein from non-animal sources because animal proteins contain saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones, and sometimes antibiotics. Plant based proteins are a healthy and viable alternative to using animal proteins. Some sources of plant-based proteins have more protein per ounce than steak and chicken combined.
There are a lot of different sources of plant-based proteins available. Here are a few of the most popular plant-based protein sources.
Tempeh/Soybeans: Soybeans are packed with protein and are an ideal source of protein for a vegan diet. Eating soybeans may also help decrease cholesterol.1
Chickpeas: You can get a lot of protein out of chickpeas. They’re great roasted, turned into soup, and you can even make them into pancakes!
Chia Seeds: This tiny seed is packed with protein and is a great addition to any breakfast smoothie.
Peanuts: Everybody loves nuts. A single cup of peanuts can provide you with about 75% of your daily protein needs. They’re great for snacking on during the
day,or eating with a meal.
Chlorella: Chlorella is a plant based source of protein. In addition to being a complete protein (containing all essential amino acids), chlorella has a lot of other amazing health benefits. Click here to learn more about the impact chlorella can have on your life.
Quinoa: This is a great rice substitute. While rice is very high in carbs and starch, quinoa is packed with protein and is really high in fiber.
Beans: Mixing red beans, kidney beans, black beans, or others with rice will provide a rich source of protein and a well-rounded meal.
Vegetables (Broccoli, Kale, Mushrooms): a lot of dark, leafy greens and vegetables have protein. Eaten alone these vegetables don’t provide enough protein, so combining them into veggie snacks is a great way to get a good serving of protein.
Protein Powder: Before choosing a protein powder, make sure it is plant based. There are a few plant based options available, but they are much less common than the animal based protein powders.
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about different sources of plant based proteins, you need to know how to cook with them. We’ve compiled a list of recipes using quinoa, chlorella, and other sources of plant based proteins. We’ve got a few favorites, but we encourage you to find your own. Good luck and happy cooking!
Author: Marisela Corrado