You might as well compare protein to the importance of water. It’s just an important everyday life, our bodies need to survive and thrive. You need to consume the right amount of protein every day to do almost anything ̵
Okay, so now that we’ve got it out of the way, let’s get down to plant-based protein. We know – people are riding hard on the wave without meat these days more than ever before. Aside from the fact that meat-free meals have become such a “trend”, we would say that there are healthy ways to mix plant-based proteins in your diet that will undoubtedly do more good for your body than animal proteins. If you are trying to shed meat from your diet for ethical or health conscious reasons, it is important to find good sources of plant proteins rich in things like amino acids and vitamins.
I will quickly share my meatless testimony: I have been meatless lately and have honestly never felt better. A nutritionist once asked me to make vegetables the star of my meals. I started basing my meals around vegetables – some I had never even tried before – and it has been great to fall in love with new plant-based proteins that make me feel like I have my life together. I talked more about the best plant-based proteins with Evolve’s in-house nutritionist, Trish Griffin, who is also a registered dietitian, and Jonathan Valdez, a registered dietitian and owner of Genki Nutrition.
“The myth that plant proteins are incomplete, requiring protein combination, has been dispelled,” Griffin explains. “For example, pea protein contains all the essential amino acids necessary for human health, and by eating a variety of foods and meeting your calorie needs for vegan or vegetarian diets, complementary proteins are not necessary in a single meal or beverage. By When you eat a sufficient amount of a variety of plant-based protein sources, your body will reach all nine essential amino acids and support all the vital functions that protein provides. “
It is also important to point out that the 2006 and 2015 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that eating a variety of plant foods during the day provides all of our body’s required amino acids.
Read on for their favorite plant-based proteins and some fun ways to integrate these into your diet.
“Pea protein contains essential amino acids and has a high leucine content compared to most plant-based proteins,” explains Grifin. “Leucine is the most important amino acid as it relates to muscle growth, maintenance repair and triggering muscles to produce protein that can lead to improvements over time in lean body mass, strength and body composition. Peas also contain a relatively high amount of the essential amino acid lysine compared to other plant sources.
“Pea protein is used in all Evolve RTD Protein Shakes. The pea source is actually a yellow pea, which has a low fat content and is naturally cholesterol-free,” she says.
Nutrition: 1 cup cooked peas = 5 g protein
365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Green Peas ($ 2)
The Nue Co. Probiotic Protein – Plant ($ 35)
“Beans are good sources of protein and contain a relatively higher amount of lysine compared to other plant protein sources,” says Giffin. “Among the beans, the soybean has the highest protein content. They contain all the essential amino acids, and a 1/2 cup serving of soybeans provides as much potassium as a medium banana. “
Valdez is also a big fan of soybeans and its benefits. “From an Asian background, soy was a very popular dish in my house and continues to be a popular plant-based protein for me,” says Valdez. “I love it because it has different uses. For example, soybeans can certainly be a wonderful snack alone or in a salad.” Valdez also notes that soy contains lunasin, which is reported to have cancer-preventing and other inflammatory properties to regulate cholesterol metabolism. He also explains that soy has calcium, copper, magnesium and vitamin B, all of which are good to eat on a regular basis. “
Nutrition: 1/2 cup cooked soybeans = 15 g protein
House food Organic Solid Tofu ($ 2)
3. Plant-based beverages
For these reasons above, he is also a lover of soy milk. “Soy milk is a powerful plant base, which has approx. 6 grams of protein and can be used in various ways from baking, pancakes or even smoothies, ” says Valdez. “This is definitely a perfect substitute for cow’s milk for people who may have milk allergies or severe lactose intolerance.”
Silk Organic Soy Milk ($ 3)
4. Pumpkin seeds
“Pumpkin seeds not only provide protein, but also vitamin A, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc,” says Griffin.
Griffin suggests incorporating this festive seed into your meals by adding them to sautéed vegetables, hot or cold cereals, healthy pastries and veggie burgers.
Nutrition: 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds = 9 g protein
Terrasoul Superfoods Pumpkin Seeds ($ 15)
5. Almonds and walnuts
“I add these beautiful nuts to my smoothies in the morning along with my walnuts. It’s a nice hot fat and gives the smoothie a more creamy taste,” Valdez explains. Valdez also says that almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant and prevents cell damage to the skin as well as magnesium, manganese, niacin and vitamin B2. He also says that walnuts have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Nutrition: 1 oz. almonds = 6 g protein
Blue diamond All Natural Almonds ($ 9)
According to Harvard Health, the richest source of plant-based protein is the legume family, which includes beans of all kinds.
365 by Whole Foods Market Black Beans ($ 1)
Not only are chickpeas full of protein, they are also a good source of carbohydrate, fiber, B vitamins and some minerals, according to Harvard Health.
Palouse Brand Garbanzo Beans ($ 15)
The Cleveland Clinic says that by adding half a cup of lentils to your meal you will add 12 grams of protein. Any lenses work here: green, brown or red.
Bob’s red mill Small French Green Lentils ($ 12)
Sakara Life Organic protein + greens super powder ($ 45)
Cereals like quinoa are loaded with protein. According to the Cleveland Clinic, half a cup of serving oats adds 5 grams of protein and a quarter cup of raw barley or quinoa equals 5 to 6 grams of protein.
Anthony’s Organic white quinoa ($ 15)
10. Chia Seeds
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 4 grams of protein. They are also rich in fiber, calcium and zinc.
Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Black Chia Seeds ($ 12)
11. Nutritional yeast
You can add nutritional yeast to many dishes and snacks, such as popcorn, pasta and sauces. One tablespoon of nutritional yeast equals two grams of protein, according to The Cleveland Clinic.
Bragg Nutritional Yeast Spices ($ 15)
12. Plant-based meats
If you are just getting started on a plant-based lifestyle, you can try the many alternative meat options out there. Look at the ingredient list to see what else has been added.
Impossible food Impossible burger ($ 8)
Next up: How to Eat a Plant-Based Diet Changed My Relationship With Food
This article was originally published at an earlier time and has since been updated.
This article was originally featured on The Thirty
Read more from The Thirty