When it comes to weight loss, protein is key. It helps boost your metabolism, repair and rebuild muscles, and it is a huge contributor to the feeling of satiety after a meal. Making sure you’re consuming enough protein, aside from your chicken, salmon, or lean meat (if your diet preference allows it), mixing in plant-based protein sources will be sure to benefit your. However, if you are Vegan or Vegetarian, it’s important to make sure you’re incorporating these high-protein foods into your diet.
Soy based foods usually pack the biggest bunch when it comes to protein. Tempeh leads the pack coming in with about 15 grams, tofu with 10 grams, and edamame with over 8 grams per ½ cup serving. With a variety of soy products on the market, which are usually available in different flavors to suit any taste preference, these foods are great to toss on a salad or mix up with a medley of veggies.
If you opt for a less processed plant-based protein source, legumes are a great option, especially since there are so many to choose from. However, if you’re looking for the highest amount of protein, lentils are on the top of the list with almost 9 grams per ½ cup serving. Coming in next are chickpeas (garbanzos) with over 7 grams per ½ cup serving. Other legumes include pinto, kidney, lima and black beans. These can also be tossed into any meal as a side or perhaps the base of a hearty soup.
Grains & Pseudocereals
Grains are an incredibly versatile plant-based protein source that can be enjoyed at any meal of the day. Whether you opt for the morning bowl of oatmeal, which contains over 6 grams of protein in every ½ cup (dry) oats or for the savory cooked quinoa with about 4 grams per ½ cup, grains are ideal to give your meal a protein boost. Other high protein grains include the ancient grains such as amaranth and teff, which contain over 5 grams of protein per ½ cup of a cooked serving.
This plant-based protein source is usually a key ingredient in your mid-morning snack or perhaps even a staple in a morning breakfast – and it’s for a good reason! Nuts are not only a great source of protein, but they are convenient…and delicious. One ounce of peanuts, pistachios, or almonds can supply you with over 6 grams of protein. Other nuts that are a good source of protein are walnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts. Luckily, included in this category is nut butters; depending if you chose peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter, you’ll definitely be getting in at least 7 grams for every two tablespoons.
Very similar to nuts, seeds can be included into any meal for that crunch factor or to spruce up any sweet or savory meal. Seeds such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds can provide up to 1-2 grams of protein per tablespoon! And if you usually keep clear of tree nuts due to an allergy, sunflower seed butter is a delicious alternative.
Most people who chose a plant-based diet usually have some sort of hesitation when considering protein sources. However, maintaining a balanced diet and adding variety to your meals, reaching your protein goals can be simple and delicious.