Our Favourite Plant-Based Sources of Protein
Here at Shulman Health & Weight Loss, we educate our clients on the power of plants for nutrition and overall health. When we typically think of protein, our minds go to animal sources such as chicken and beef, but there are many plant-based sources of protein too. Check out this list of plant-based protein options to incorporate into your weekly diet.
Tofu, Tempeh & Edamame
These soy products are among the richest sources of protein in a primarily plant-based diet. Tofu is made from soybean curds and contains 10g of protein per ½ cup. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup serving. Edamame beans contain 8.5 grams of protein per ½ cup.
Tofu is a very popular meat substitute as it takes on the flavour of the ingredients it is prepared with. Be sure to buy organic tofu to ensure it is non-GMO. We love to use tofu in buddha bowls and a hearty stir-fry.
Cooked chickpeas are a very versatile plant-based protein source with 7 grams of protein per ½ cup serving. They can be added to stews, salads, curries and even roasted in the oven to make crispy chickpea snacks. Many of our clients eat hummus (chickpea paste) with veggies as a healthy afternoon snack. There are many flavours of hummus out there and our personal favourite is roasted garlic!
Lentils are another great source of plant protein containing 8 grams of protein per ½ cup serving. Just like chickpeas, lentils can be added to rice, salads, curries and stews. Another benefit is that lentils are rich in fibre and B vitamins.
Hemp seeds are a complete protein meaning they contain all the essential amino acids. Per tablespoon, hemp seeds contain 5 grams of protein. They can be used in a similar way to chia seeds or ground flax seeds and add a great protein boost to smoothies, salads and soups. We love Manitoba Harvest which can be found in most local grocery stores.
Peanuts and almonds, along with other nuts, are a great snack packed with protein. Peanuts contain 20 grams of protein per ½ cup and almonds contain 16 grams of protein per ½ cup. Pair a small handful of nuts with some fruit for a well-rounded protein-rich snack. Make sure to choose unsalted nuts to reduce your sodium intake for the day.
Spirulina is available as a supplement and it is a blue or green algae that can be added to smoothies, fruit juices or water. Spirulina contains 12g of protein per 3 tablespoons.
It is often that we forget about grains when it comes to plant-based sources of protein. Cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein per cup and is also rich in fiber and iron. Quinoa makes for a great base in a stir-fry, buddha bowl and even sprinkled on top of salads.
Vegan Protein Powder
Vegan protein powders are generally easier to digest than whey protein powders and there are many awesome brands out there. Some of my favourite vegan protein powders include Vega, Genuine Health fermented protein and Sunwarrior, Garden of Life. Speak with your nutritionist to see which protein powder is best for your individual diet and preferences.
Like what you've read? Check out our favourite plant-based dinners for weight loss here.