Having more protein in your diet is one of the best ways to feel stronger, more energized and keep your body growing and running efficiently.
Protein has a thermic effect on the body, which means you consume up to 30% of the calories you gain from eating it are burned by the body just by processing it during digestion. Compared to around 10% for carbs.
Not to mention, protein also helps you maintain normal blood sugar levels as it balances blood sugar which helps to prevent insulin spikes.
So, today we give you 11 awesome sources of plant protein for you to start reaping all these health benefits and build a better you.
Let’s start shopping:
Lentils are an awesome source of plant protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. They are considered to be a starchy protein. One cup of cooked Lentils is packed with 18g of protein.
How to use lentils:
- Cook with spices and vegetables to create a hearty soup
- Combine with lettuce and quinoa and spinach to make a hearty salad
- Use to make veggie meatballs, loafs, and stuffings
Despite the name, Buckwheat has no relation to wheat. It is interestingly a member of the rhubarb family and is an easily digestible protein. Using buckwheat flours is an awesome way to add some protein to your baking or cooking. One cup of buckwheat has around 23g of protein.
How to use buckwheat:
- Use buckwheat flour to make cakes, cookies, and pancakes
- Serve with vegetables such as broccoli and spinach
- Use buckwheat to make a porridge
These little pellets are an amazing source of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. They are considered to be a starchy protein just like lentils and are packed with magnesium, which is an important player in many body functions such as muscle function, blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation and protein.
One cup of cooked beans contains a staggering 15g of protein.
How to use beans:
- Cooked with your favorite spices and seasonings and eaten plain
- Top on salads
- Combine with rice or quinoa for a hearty meal
- Use to make vegetarian meatballs, loafs, or burgers
- Use as a taco filling
One cooked cup of oats serves up an amazing 6g of protein, plus makes a great source of soluble fiber to keep blood sugar levels balanced which gives you more energy.
How to use oats:
- Make porridge for breakfast or a midday snack
- Mix with a spoonful of nut butter or probiotic yogurt
Quinoa is a naturally gluten-free grain (actually it is a seed), which is used as a carbohydrate. It is considered a starchy protein as it has a perfect blend of protein, carbohydrates and fiber. It can be used as a substitute for rice.
A 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa has about 7-9g of protein.
How to use quinoa:
- Cook and top on raw or cooked greens
- Use as a hot or cold cereal by adding almond milk and fresh fruit
- Use a bed of quinoa instead of a bed of rice for stir-fry dishes
6. Organic Tempeh, Tofu, and Edamame
Tempeh, tofu and, edamame are SSoy-containing foods and all offer a complete protein consisting all amino acids. They often carry a lot of fiber and healthy fats. The most nutritious is tempeh and it is an exception to soy foods as it has naturally occurring healthy bacteria produced during fermentation.
One serving of either of these foods will give you around 20g of protein.
How to use tempeh, tofu or edamame:
- Tofu and tempeh both can be marinated and paired with rice or vegetables
- Use tempeh and tofu as toppings to salads.
- Add to stir-fry meals.
- Use as filling for tacos, burgers
- Tip: always purchase organic and sprouted tofu if available, non-GMO if available.
7. Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast is a popular addition to many plant-based foods due to its cheesy flavor, versatility, high vitamin B content, and protein. This yeast contains no dairy or active yeast, and comes in a powdered or flaked form and creates a paste when mixed with water. This makes it perfect for sauces and dairy-free dressings.
Three tablespoons of nutritional yeast equal to 12g of protein.
How to use nutritional yeast:
- Add flaked nutritional yeast to almond milk or water to create a cheesy dressing or sauce
- Sprinkle on salads, quinoa, beans, and more
- Incorporate into dips such as hummus
8. Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds are an ancient seed that has been used for centuries for their amazing properties to absorb water and turn into a gel-like substance thanks to the soluble fiber content in the seeds. Because of this unique characteristic, chia seeds are great to add to meals and foods to thicken naturally while also boosting the fiber, protein, and healthy fats (mainly omega-3’s).
Two tablespoons is equal to 4g protein
How to use chia seeds:
- Sprinkle on top of porridges, oatmeal, and cold cereals for a crunch
- Soak for at least 30 minutes in almond milk for a basic chia seed pudding
9. Hemp Seeds
Containing heart-healthy fats and protein, hemp seeds are also a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are subtly sweet, nutty and are so small that they can secretly be used and added to any recipe to boost the protein content.
Three tablespoons hemp equals about 10g protein
How to use hemp seeds:
- Sprinkle on top of salads
- Stir or blend into soups or stews to slightly thicken
- Add to smoothies for a creamy texture
- Add to hummus, dips, or dressings by blending in hemp seeds
- Sprinkle on top of porridge, oatmeals, or other cereals
- Add to baked goods and desserts for added protein
Walnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts and more are not only rich in minerals, Vitamin E, and healthy fats but are also protein rich. Just eating 1 a day makes up 100% of your DV for selenium.
A 1/4 cup of nuts equals around 7-9g protein
How to use nuts:
- Sprinkle nuts on top of salads or any meal to increase the healthy fat and protein content
- Grind and use as a “flour” in gluten-free baking
- Use in desserts
- Make your own nut butter
- Sprinkle on top of oatmeal, porridges, or cold cereals for crunch and protein
Spirulina is an awesome source of protein to have handy in your home. It is the only protein source that has the most protein content by dry weight (around 70%). Its color and taste is a bit overpowering and will easily overwhelm whatever you add it to, so be mindful when adding it to shakes or other foods.
Two tablespoons of spirulina will give you 8g of protein.
How to use spirulina:
- Blend into smoothies and green drinks
- Sprinkle on baked potatoes and fries
Learn more about Spirulina here.
Awesome Sources of Plant Protein Summary
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or a carnivore looking for some meat-free options every now and then, these awesome sources of plant protein is a good place to start.
Not only are they rich in muscle building and energy giving amino acids but also lots of other vitamins and minerals to offer you a balanced and effective daily diet.