We all love protein, which is why it’s in our name. Eating a diet rich in high protein foods can provide us with many benefits. These benefits include helping to keep our bodies functioning on a daily basis, stabilizing our blood sugar levels and providing us with essential amino acids. But can you get enough protein on a plant based diet?
With many types of diet such as a plant based, vegetarianism and veganism, non-supporters often grumble that you can’t get enough protein in. It’s not rocket science that on any diet, we need a mix of carbs, protein and fats to keep our bodies in check. The balance of these three depends on what type of diet you are following. On the Keto Diet for example you will need to a higher percentage of fats, moderate amounts of protein and low amounts of carbs. On a plant based diet, there are no set rules as to amount of each that you need. But it is important to ensure that you are getting all three.
When it comes to consuming protein, you might be drawn to think of meat sources which of course on a plant based diet, you don’t consume. (If you’re wondering what you do consume, here are my top 20 favourite plant based foods). Although you don’t eat meat on this diet, there are many delicious vegetables and other sources which you can eat to get the protein on a plant based diet.
Vegetables to eat to get enough protein on a plant based diet
Veggies are great because many of the vegetables that we eat on a daily basis have a decent serving of protein on a plant based diet. Vegetables can help us to feel full as they are bursting with fibre and have good volume. Veggies are low in calories too – which basically means we can eat as much as we want!
In our 30 top high protein vegetables list, we rated seaweed spirulina (it’s a highly nutritious micro salt water algae) as the number one high protein vegetable (probably not one of the veggies that we eat on a daily basis I know). I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that it tastes delicious, because the first time I tried this in powder form, I gagged so badly! But there are easy ways to get it into your diet such as adding it into a smoothie (basically disguising it in the best way possible so that you don’t actually taste it). You can also make energy balls or hide it in soups.
There are of course much more delicious veggies that contain a decent amount of protein such as potatoes. The skin on the potatoes is key as these contain the most protein at 6g per 100g. Start planning baked potato skins into your next week’s meal plan!
Aside from vegetables though, there are other ways to get your protein on a plant based diet that don’t include typical vegetables. The plant, hemp is grown in the northern hemisphere that takes around 3 months to mature. The hemp seeds can be consumed as they are, or they can be used to produce a number of different variants: hemp oil, hemp milk and hemp powder. Add hemp powder into smoothies with your seaweed spirulina and a 30g serving provides around 11g of protein. They also contain magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids.
Nuts and Seeds to add get enough protein on a plant based diet
Nuts and seeds are are a great source of protein too and are super versatile. To give you an idea, Chia Seeds contain roughly 5g of protein in a 30g serving, and are packed with healthy fats and rich in antioxidants.
Whether you’re planning to add them on top of your salad, into your porridge or into your smoothie, they are a no brainer. Nuts are a good all-rounder in my books as not only do they contain a decent amount of protein, they are also relatively low in carbs as most of the carbs in nuts comes from fibre which means that the net carbs are pretty low. If you’re looking to avoid the carbs, then stay away from the cashews as these have higher carb content. Nuts also contain good amounts of fats: brazil nuts, macadamias and pine nuts have some of the higher levels.
Ensure you don’t have too many nuts though as the calories can creep up – try and stick to a handful (this is something I struggle with!) If you want to know which nuts are the lowest in carbs, then look no further.
Grains to eat to get enough protein on a plant based diet
If you choose your grains carefully, you’ll be able to get good amounts of protein from these too. Quinoa is packed with protein and from half a cup of the stuff, you can get around 7-9g protein. Being gluten free too, it can be easier to digest than some of the other grains out there. I love to use quinoa as a base in my goodness bowl, or as a porridge (substituting oats).
Known as being popular amongst vegans (or maybe that’s just how I think of it), 3 tablespoons of this can provide us with around 12g of protein. You might be wondering what it is… and it wasn’t until recently I found out either. It’s basically cheesy style yeast that contains no dairy and no active yeast. It’s usually bought in a powder or flake format and when you mix it with liquid it forms a paste. Recently I’ve seen blogger sprinkle it onto dishes to make a cheese like topping. You can find it at many health food stores (such as About Life). It’s pretty versatile too depending on whether you get the paste or the flakes. It can be used to create cheesy dressings or it can be added on top of salads or bean dishes.
The above are just a handful of ways in which you can get protein into your plant based diet. When following a plant based diet, you may need to be a little more mindful of your protein intake. Others ways to get protein are loading up meals with beans, organic tempeh or tofu. Use trial and error and topping meals with nuts, seeds and grains. You shouldn’t have a problem getting adequate protein into your diet. If your enjoying reading about protein and want to read 7 important facts about protein (trust me – they’re good), head over to my other article.
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