If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you’re familiar with the question: “But how do you get protein?” It’s not always easy. With animal products – beef, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy – serving as the most popular and widely available source, people following a plant-based diet might feel like their options are limited. In actuality, there are endless plant-protein foods that not only provide ample amount of protein but are better for you many ways. Here are five types to start piling on your plate today.
1. Beans & legumes
True, beans good for your heart. But they’re also protein powerhouses that offer a wealth of additional benefits. Soybeans top the list as the type with the most protein: a one-cup serving packs in approximately 28 grams (which amounts to 20 percent of your daily protein intake requirement). Tip: To avoid potential digestive issues, rinse beans thoroughly before cooking them.
2. Nuts & nut butters
Nuts are not only a great source vitamins, antioxidants and healthy fats, but they’re also one of the easiest ways to sneak protein into your diet. A handful of almonds (about 23 nuts), for example, provides 6 grams of protein. Carry a snack pack in your purse or try sprinkling them on salads, yogurt or oatmeal to instantly enrich your meal. Nut butters are another quick-and-easy way to enjoy the benefits of nuts. Try Justin’s portable packs to spread on nut nutrition wherever you go!
3. Protein powders
While protein powders used to be associated with bodybuilders and fitness freaks, it’s now being sprinkled into beverages by anyone and everyone for an instant protein boost. Simply pour a scoop into the blender with your favorite smoothie ingredients for up to a few dozen extra protein grams per serving. I like Designer Protein Essential 10 because it’s clean, nutrient dense and delivers 16 grams of protein per serving.
A superfood superstar, quinoa has an incredible nutritional profile, including 8 grams of protein per single-cup serving. It can be enjoyed as a side dish, a breakfast cereal or salad topping. Quinoa also is great in place of rice or pasta as part of your favorite main course. Just be sure to follow the package directions carefully for best texture.
5. Hemp seeds
These nutrient-rich little seeds are a superior source of protein – offering 11 grams per ounce – plus they’re a good source of magnesium and zinc and supply essential fatty acids. Hemp seeeds also extremely versatile and can be added to just about anything, raw or cooked! Try stirring some into baked goods batters for extra protein in your homemade breads, muffins and more.
Article contributed by Aly Teich for Designer Protein. Aly is the Founder of The Sweat Life, an online resource for all things health, wellness and fitness in NYC and beyond. A native New Yorker with 10 years of experience in television and media, Aly switched her focus to health and wellness to start The Sweat Life.