A plant based diet seems to be growing more and more popular. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just looking for some more nutrient dense portion sources, I’ve got you covered below.
First off, the most obvious and theoretically easiest would be a protein powder. The demand for vegan protein powered has been increasing tremendously, with more and more options. There are numerous sources for the powder. Soy and brown rice protein tend to be the most common to find alone, rather than in a protein blend. Other sources include peas, quinoa, sacha inch and hemp protein.
The great thing about vegan protein powder is, they often come in blends with other super foods. Chia seeds and flax seeds are just two of the common ingredients in
protein blends. These will give you extra vitamins and minerals, including fiber, Omega 3 fatty acid,and magnesium.
Don’t believe just because the powder is from plants, you’ll be getting less protein. A single serving of Brown Rice Protein, has 24g of protein, 3g of carbs, and 0.3g of fat.
Forget what you’ve heard about tofu. It is no longer some weird, gelatinous gunk leaving you unsure if it is edible. Tofu products are expanding rapidly. A block of soy is rated on a scale from soft to hard; meaning you can use it for puddings if soft, to mock-meats and scrambled eggs alike.
The flavor is very mild, like chicken. This makes it extremely versatile, giving you the option to flavor it however you like. One serving of tofu will give you 10 grams of protein for only 90 calories.
One of my easy and quick protein filled meals is a tofu scramble. There are numerous recipes on the scramble. It primarily consist of crumbling a block of tofu into a
pan and adding spices/desired vegetables. Easy, delicious and only one pan to clean.
Tempeh is the lesser known tofu counterpart. Tempeh is a fermented form of soy, easy to digest and rich in probiotics. Including fermented foods in your diet is great for your overall heath and digestion. It is closer to the whole soy product than tofu, meaning it is less processed. It also contains more fiber, protein and antioxidants.
One serving yields 16 grams of protein for 140 calories. Tempeh also holds a more “meaty” texture. It is an easy ground beef alternative as it is more firm and less “spongy” than tofu. Substitute it for ground beef for an easy spaghetti and tomato sauce meal.
If you’re looking for the cheapest protein source available, reach for the beans and lentils. To save time, you can opt for buying them canned as opposed to dried. Do yourself a favor and rinse them well first, in order to decrease the amount of sodium. Due to the high fiber content, both beans and lentils will help keep you full. Additionally, the high levels of folate and magnesium are great for heart health. One serving (1/2 cup) of lentils yields 9 grams of protein and one serving of black beans yields about 7 grams.
Both lentils and beans again are so versatile and easy to meld into any meal. Make a big batch of lentil Dahl by sautéeing an onion & garlic Add lentils, water and curry powder. Cook until the lentils start to meld together. It’s a great grab and go protein source to have for the week alongside vegetables or grains.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of not only protein but healthy fats. Something to keep in mind as many plant based protein sources are extremely low in fat. As far as nuts go, almonds are a great place to start, with 6 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat per serving. Another nut close behind is cashews with 5 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat. The benefits of cashews is their nutritional information; with more zinc, selenium, magnesium and iron than any other tree nut. Have a few nuts along side your protein shake for optimal performance and digestion.
Chia seeds have had their place in fame- deserving much more recognition than just a wild haired tacky clay pot from the 90s. Chia seeds offer 10 frame of fiber per serving and are a wonderful source of alpha-linolenic acid and omega 3 & 6. Chia seeds also provide 5 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat per serving. The seed is also great at cleaning out the digestive tract as they draw water to themselves adding bulk to stool. Chia pudding (made by mixing the seeds with water/milk and letting it sit) is a great sweet-tooth satisfier when mixed with fruit.
Other great sources of protein filled seeds are hemp, flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds. All of these seeds are filled with vitamins and essential nutrients. Sprinkle them onto oatmeal, cereal and salads to make a more satisfying nutrient dense meal.