Plant Based Food With High Protein

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A plant based diet is one of the most popular diets in the world. It’s also one of the healthiest! But what exactly does it mean to eat a “plant based food with high protein” diet?

When people think of plant based foods, they often imagine all-vegan meals with strange ingredients you’ve never heard of before. But that’s not true at all! You can eat your favorite foods—like pizza or tacos—and still, be healthy. Plant based food is just about eating whole, natural foods instead of processed ones.

Plant based food means eating real food: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil. It means eating more plants than anything else—even meat! And it means cutting back on processed foods like candy bars and fast food burgers.

Plant Based Food With High Protein

A person may try a vegan diet for health, animal welfare, or religious reasons. In 2016Trusted Source, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated that a vegetarian or vegan diet could provide all the nutritional requirements of adults, children, and those who were pregnant or breastfeeding.

Even so, getting enough protein and essential vitamins and minerals can be harder for people who do not eat meat or animal products. A person must plan ahead to ensure they get enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B-12, which people on an omnivorous diet get from animal products.

Read on for a list of some of the best plant-based foods for protein. We also discuss the differences between animal and plant proteins, and whether plant-based protein powders can be good sources of protein.

Benefits of Plant Based Proteins

There are many reasons why people choose to eat a plant based diet:

Plant Based Proteins help animals by reducing their suffering on factory farms (where most chickens are raised for meat). It reduces greenhouse gas emissions from factory farms by as much as 50%. It is helpful in preventing heart disease and diabetes by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure levels in people who have high cholesterol

Related Post: foods that increase white blood cells

Fifteen best Plant-Based Proteins

The right plant-based foods can be excellent sources of protein and other nutrients, often with fewer calories than animal products.

Some plant products, such as soybeans and quinoa, are complete proteins, which means that they contain all nine essential amino acids that humans need. Others are missing some of these amino acids, so eating a varied diet is important.

The following healthful, plant-based foods have a high-protein content per serving:

1. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame

soy is a plant based protein
Soy products such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame are among the richest sources of protein in a vegan diet.

Soy products are among the richest sources of protein in a plant-based diet. The protein content varies with how the soy is prepared:

  • firm tofu (soybean curds) contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup
  • edamame beans (immature soybeans) contain 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup
  • tempeh contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup

Tofu takes on the flavor of the dish it is prepared in so that it can be a versatile addition to a meal.

People can try tofu, as a meat substitute, in a favorite sandwich or soup. Tofu is also a popular meat substitute in some dishes, such as kung pao chicken and sweet and sour chicken.

These soy products also contain good levels of calcium and iron, which makes them healthful substitutes for dairy products.

2. Lentils

Red or green lentils contain plenty of protein, fiber, and key nutrients, including iron and potassium.

Cooked lentils contain 8.84 g of protein per ½ cup.

Lentils are a great source of protein to add to a lunch or dinner routine. They can be added to stews, curries, salads, or rice to give an extra portion of protein.

3. Chickpeas

Cooked chickpeas are high in protein, containing around 7.25 g per ½ cup.

Chickpeas can be eaten hot or cold, and are highly versatile with plenty of recipes available online. They can, for example, be added to stews and curries, or spiced with paprika and roasted in the oven.

A person can add hummus, which is made from chickpea paste to a sandwich for a healthful, protein-rich alternative to butter.

4. Peanuts

Peanuts are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. They contain around 20.5 g of protein per ½ cup.

Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 3.6 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack.

Related Post: food with peanuts

5. Almonds

Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes.

6. Spirulina

Spirulina is blue or green algae that contain around 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. It is also rich in nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins — although not vitamin B-12 — and manganese.

Spirulina is available online, as a powder or as a supplement. It can be added to water, smoothies, or fruit juice. A person can also sprinkle it over salad or snacks to increase their protein content.

7. Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain with high protein content and is a complete protein. Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup.

This grain is also rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese. It is also highly versatile.

Quinoa can fill in for pasta in soups and stews. It can be sprinkled on a salad or eaten as the main course.

8. Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein is a fungus-based protein. These products contain around 13 g of protein per ½ cup serving.

Products with mycoprotein are often advertised as meat substitutes and are available in forms such as “chicken” nuggets or cutlets. However, many of these products contain egg white, so people must be sure to check the label.

A very small number of people are allergic to Fusarium venenatum, the fungus from which the mycoprotein brand known as Quorn is made. People with a history of mushroom allergies or with many food allergies may wish to consider another protein source.

9. Chia seeds

Seeds in wooden bowls
Chia and hemp seeds are complete sources of protein that can be used to make smoothies, yogurts, and puddings.

Seeds are low-calorie foods that are rich in fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a complete source of protein that contains 2 g of protein per tablespoon.

Try adding chia seeds to a smoothie, sprinkling them on top of plant-based yogurt, or soaking them in water or almond milk to make a pudding.

Chia seeds are available from some supermarkets, health food stores, or to buy online.

10. Hemp seeds

Similar to chia seeds, hemp seeds are a complete protein. Hemp seeds offer 5 g of protein per tablespoon. They can be used in a similar way to chia seeds. Hemp seeds can also be bought online.

11. Beans with rice

Separately, rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. Eaten together, this classic meal can provide 7 g of protein per cup.

Try rice and beans as a side dish, or mix rice, beans, and hummus together then spread on Ezekiel bread, which is made from sprouted grains, for a savory, protein-packed meal.

12. Potatoes

A large baked potato offers 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are also high in other nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C.

Add 2 tablespoons of hummus for a flavorful snack that is healthier than butter-covered potatoes and increases the protein content. Two tablespoons of hummus contain about 3 g of protein.

13. Protein-rich vegetables

Many dark-colored, leafy greens and vegetables contain protein. Eaten alone, these foods are not enough to meet daily protein requirements, but a few vegetable snacks can increase protein intake, particularly when combined with other protein-rich foods.

  • a single, medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4 g of protein
  • kale offers 2 g of protein per cup
  • 5 medium mushrooms offer 3 g of protein

Try a salad made from baby greens with some quinoa sprinkled on top for a protein-rich meal.

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14. Seitan

Seitan is a complete protein made from mixing wheat gluten with various spices. The high-wheat content means that it should be avoided by people with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For others, it can be a protein-rich healthful meat substitute.

When cooked in soy sauce, which is rich in the amino acid lysine, seitan becomes a complete protein source offering 21 g per 1/3 cup.

15. Ezekiel bread

Ezekiel bread is a type of bread that is made from sprouted grains. The grains are mixed with water and allowed to sit for a few days, which allows them to germinate. The mixture is then strained and the liquid is used to make the dough. Ezekiel bread is thought to be healthier than other types of bread because the germination process increases the nutrient content of the grains.

Plant Based Protein Alternatives

Getting protein on a vegan diet is easy. Check out Whitney’s ten favorite sources of plant-based protein for inspiration!

10 Best Sources of Plant-Based Protein by Whitney E. RD

When I tell people that I’m predominantly plant-based, their response is usually – so how do you get your protein? It’s a HUGE misconception that plant-based diets are low in protein. Yep, veggies, fruit, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes – they all have protein. Today I’m going to share with you my favorite sources of protein for a plant-based diet.

1. Chia seeds

chia seeds

These tiny little nutritional powerhouses contain about 3.5 grams of protein per two tablespoons. They’re also packed with other important nutrients for plant-based diets like calcium, iron, and zinc.

2. Tofu

tofu protein

Tofu is by far my favorite source of plant-based protein. With about 15 grams of protein per 4 oz serving (cooked), tofu provides approximately one-third of the average woman’s protein needs for the day. It’s also incredibly versatile.

Soft tofu can be blended into a smoothie, medium tofu can be incorporated into vegan cheeses, and firm or extra firm tofu can be used for stir-fries and heartier dishes. And it has a mild flavor profile, so you can really use it for any type of dish. It easily takes on the taste of sauces or spices used in cooking. It also has a great texture for those new to plant-based eating and is easily subbed for meat in many meals.

I like House Foods tofu as all of their soybeans are non-GMO and grown in the U.S. And despite what you may have heard, soy foods like tofu have tons of nutritional benefits. Studies show that soy may help prevent chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

It’s also perfectly safe for kids. Research shows no difference in reproductive or endocrine functioning in adults who consumed soy infant formula as infants. In fact, it’s likely that the earlier you begin consuming soy products, the better. 

Studies show that women who consume soy in early childhood have an even greater reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those who begin consumption later in life.

3. Sprouted Whole Grain Bread

bread protein

Whole grain bread has about 6 grams of protein per slice. That means one sandwich is packing about a fourth of your daily needs before we even get to the filling! Whole grains are also an excellent source of fiber, which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and prevent chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.

4. Quinoa

quinoa protein

Quinoa is what some people would call a “complete protein”. All whole plant foods contain all 9 essential amino acids, some just have lower amounts than others. Still, quinoa, like tofu, has a large amount of all of the essential amino acids and 8 grams of protein per cup, making it a really great plant-based protein option.

5. Hemp Seeds

hemp seeds protein

Hemp seeds got about 6 1/2 grams of protein per two tablespoons and are so easy to toss into salads, smoothies, and bowls to add a punch of plant-based protein.

6. Peanut Butter Powder

peanut butter powder protein

While peanut butter is a great source of healthy fat, peanut butter powder gives you more protein per calorie so it’s a great way to boost the plant protein content of meals.

7. Oats

oats protein

Like bread, most people think only of carbohydrates when they think of oats. But whole rolled oats pack about 11 grams of protein per cup.

8. Nutritional Yeast

nutritional yeast protein

These nutty yellow flakes are a plant-based eater essential. Two tablespoons contain about 8 grams of protein, an ample dose of iron, and a plethora of B vitamins.

9. Broccoli

broccoli protein

I like to say this vegetable is crucial-ferocious. That’s because one cup of cooked broccoli has almost 4 grams of protein. That’s quite a bit for a veggie. In fact, calorie for calorie, broccoli actually has more protein than some types of beef.

While you’d have to eat a ton of broccoli to equal the amount in a steak, I think most plant-based eaters would be up for that challenge.

10. Lentils

lentils protein

While all beans pack a ton of plant protein, lentils top the list with about 18 grams of protein per cup. Just remember to get BPA-free cans.

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