There is a misconception that animal products like meat are the best sources of protein for you. It’s true that they contain all the essential amino acids that our body needs. The only plant-based complete proteins are soy and quinoa. However, you can combine plant-based protein to get all the amino acids and intake enough protein for growth and even muscle building. “Where do you get your protein from?” is a question I’ve encountered a lot so far during my first month going plant-based.
Most people think that you need a lot more protein than what is actually needed. You only need about .8-1.0 grams of protein per kg of your body weight. Don’t think you have to load up on protein bars and supplements because all that is just not necessary.
In reality, all protein was made from plants first. As long as you eat enough calories, you will eat enough protein. There is protein in a huge variety of foods. So many foods that I can’t mention them all here. But I wanted to share a few ways that I have gotten my protein in.
These little beans are jammed packed with 15 gram of protein per cup. Black beans are also outstanding sources of iron, magnesium, and fiber. There are lots of ways to get your serving of black beans. You can throw them in soups and salads. My favorite way is to add them in a tortilla with rice, corn, spinach, and make a burrito. I also like to throw them on top of baked potatoes.
There is a whopping 6 grams of protein in ¼ cup of chia seeds. They are also a great source of healthy fat, fiber, and calcium. I like to sprinkle them on top of my oats in the morning or throw them in a smoothie.
1 cup of peas contains about 8 grams of protein and only about 100 calories. They also have about 8 grams of dietary fiber and are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium. These green peas also are full of antioxidants, which helps slow down the signs of aging. I enjoy peas as a side dish or in soups.
I like to keep a package of nuts in the car because they are a filling snack. In about 1 oz (18 nuts) there are 5 grams of protein and 12 grams of fat. Getting in a serving of nuts on a regular basis might even minimize your risk of obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Nuts, in general, are awesome for brain function, but cashews are just delicious!
Too much of anything can be bad and peanut butter is no exception. This creamy goodness happens to be my weakness and I have to remember to go easy on the PB. But it is a tasty way to get in your protein. My favorite thing in the world is to microwave a few frozen bananas and strawberries for like 45 seconds. Then I spread some peanut butter on one slice of bread and the fruit mix on the other slice. I live.
Tahini is basically grounded up sesame seeds. In about 1 oz oz, it has 5 grams of protein and 15 grams of fat. It’s also a great source of calcium and iron. I like to make a salad dressing with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic powder.
1 cup of mushrooms only equals out to about 2-3 grams of protein. But if you add a variety of foods to your diet, you will get the protein you need. Every gram adds up! Throwing in some mushrooms in a pasta or rice dish can also add some extra fiber and potassium to your diet.
Quinoa is one of the few plant-based complete proteins out there. This grain-like seed is gluten-free and high in several nutrients. I’ve had quinoa as a side dish and in soups. Quinoa is also a great source of protein, phosphorus, B6, iron, zinc, and more! This plant-based protein is low in fat and may even reduce cholesterol levels.
Whole Wheat Pasta-
1 cup of cooked whole wheat pasta has almost 8 grams of protein. It also has a high content of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium. Try making a simple vegan pasta like this one here. You could also make your own pesto. Don’t forget to have fun with your food.
How do you get in your protein?
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Peace & Love,