Plant-Based Sources of Protein

In light of the recent and viral World Health Organization article on the consumption of red meat and processed meat and the carcinogenicity of these items, I thought I would share a post to highlight some of my favourite sources of plant-based protein.  If you haven’t heard this article that’s likely been shared on any of your social media platforms, you can read a Q& A here. In no way is this post associated with the WHO nor am I an expert in nutritional science. I am simply sharing what I use, what works for me, what makes me feel my best, and what keeps my levels high (in blood work tests).

I’ll keep this short and simple. Plant-based protein sources are great for your health, the environment, and the animals of course. I’ve listed some of my favourites below, along with some of their nutritional content – in terms of protein for the purpose of this post. Plants do have protein, some more than others. Here’s some to highlight.

  1. Legumes – The family includes a wide variety of items, such as dried beans, peas and lentils. For example, black turtle beans, split yellow peas, chick peas, kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans and so on and so forth. I won’t list them all, because there are so many delicious varieties. Simply check out the varieties at your local grocery store. I always buy dried legumes, but when you’re in a pinch and don’t have the time to soak them or cook them, canned are fine (just rinse them well – the coating that is in the can is often what makes people have gas – rather than consuming the legumes themselves). True story! Legumes are so versatile. They can be thrown in soups, salads, added to rice dishes, and used as a “meat-like” substitute in dishes like Shepherds Pie and taco filling. You can never go wrong with a nice curried dhal either on a cold fall/winter evening. Let’s talk protein. For 1/2 cup of black turtle beans, it contains 21 grams of protein. For the same amount of green lentils, 18 grams of protein. For 1/2 cup of edamame beans, 10 grams of protein. You get the gist.
  2. Hemp Hearts – Added to smoothies or in things like cauliflower alfredo to create a creamy like texture and taste. They are great. You can add them to salads too. For just 3 tbsp of hemp hearts, you get 10 grams of protein. They are also packed with essential fatty acids like omega 6 and 3, which is important to get when you don’t eat fish or some dairy products that contain these acids like some yogurts. I get a good sized bag at Costco by a brand called Manitoba Harvest.
  3. Spirulina – A beautiful rich emerald green colour, this stuff is one of the most protein dense foods that you can consume. For just two tsp you get 2 grams of protein. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it contains 60% protein by weight. Add it to green smoothies, or if you’re brave, stir it in water and drink up. It’s potent stuff, but so great for you.
  4. Quinoa – Just 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa has 6 grams of protein. Not to mention all the other vitamins and nutrients that it contains. It’s actually a nut, but served like a grain. It’s so good to throw into soups, pastas, salads, or even to use in desserts.
  5. Chia Seeds – Great in chia seeds pudding or chia seed bubble tea  and blended in smoothies – for just 100 grams of these small but mighty seeds, you get 17 grams of protein.
  6. Peanut Butter – Ummm….yum. For a low fat option such as PB2 (powdered peanut butter) you get 5 grams of protein for just 2 tbsp. Really, do you need a reason to eat PB? I didn’t think so.
  7. Tofu – Excellent for cooking with. The options are endless. From tofu scramble, to stir-fries, soups, noodles, pastas to taco filling. Tofu is so versatile and delicious. Low fat tofu extra-firm tofu has 16 grams of soy protein for about 3 ounces worth.

Just some examples, to get you started in the event that you are new to a plant-based diet, are looking to incorporate more alternative sources of protein into your diet, or simply need a reminder of great plant-based sources of protein. I hope this was helpful ❤ Again, I’m no expert nor to I claim to be 🙂 Simply sharing some knowledge.

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