We could all afford to decrease the amount of animal protein we eat and the best way to do so is through plant based protein sources. As a vegan myself, the first question that people always ask me is, “Where do you get your protein?” Contrary to popular belief, it is easy to get enough protein in your diet regardless of if you take a bite of meat or not. Although protein is an essential nutrient, it is very easy to get enough protein through food sources rather than downing supplements or loading up on animal meats. Here are 7 plant based protein sources to add to your diet today!
Lentils are one of the top plant based protein sources, not only because of their high protein content (18 grams in one cup!), but also because they are so versatile and delicious! In the winter especially, lentil soup is a staple in my diet, but year round, I like to add lentils to other soups, pasta sauces and even make “neat balls” instead of meatballs to go on top of spaghetti.
2. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans are another versatile plant based protein source that we should all be eating more of. With 15 grams of protein per cup, kidney beans are also full of filling fiber and disease fighting vitamins and minerals. I like to add kidney beans to chili, vegetable soup, ground up in spaghetti sauce or even as a salad topper!
Chickpeas are one of my very favorite plant based protein sources because the can be used in so many things! Whether it be in soups, used to make into hummus, as flour or even as the base of vegan raw cookie dough, chickpeas are a great food to keep on hand. Like many beans, chickpeas have 15 grams of protein per cup and are also full of many vitamins and minerals that will help keep you strong and healthy!
4. Lima Beans
Growing up in the south, lima beans were a staple in my diet. However, as I’ve gotten older, I find that I don’t cook them quite as much as a should! Lima beans also contain 15 grams of protein per cup and make the perfect addition to any meal. They are high in many vitamins and minerals and will help keep you feeling full for hours after consumption.
Moving away from the beans, quinoa is my favorite grain because it is one of the few complete plant based protein sources, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids that our body needs. Quinoa has about 8 grams of protein per cooked cup and unlike many grains is gluten-free as well. I’m a quinoa fan for any meal: quinoa porridge for breakfast, quinoa salad for lunch or a side of quinoa for dinner! I’m starting to sound like Forrest!
A weekly staple in our house, peas are full of protein too! I like split peas not only because of their delicious hearty taste but because of their high protein content too, roughly 16 grams per cup. Other peas, like green peas, contain about 8 grams per cup, while black-eyed peas are even higher with about 13 grams per cup. Pea protein supplements are becoming rather popular right now too!
7. Peanut Butter
Not only a rich source of healthy fat, but did you know that peanut butter is high in protein too, containing about 8 grams in every 2 tablespoons? Because of this, peanut butter is a great addition to any snack or meal. Fat and protein are digested much slower than carbohydrates. Therefore, peanut butter will help to keep you feeling full for much longer than if you were to eat a carbohydrate, like a piece of toast, alone.
As you can see, many of the plant based foods that you might already consume are rather high in protein. This should give you a sigh of relief whether you are a vegan worried about getting enough protein or are a meat eater who could afford to scale back on your animal consumption. Together we can all be plant strong! What is your favorite plant based protein?