When you start a plant-based diet, the topic of protein is bound to come up. When anyone considers going vegetarian or vegan, or even just reducing their animal products consumption like in a plant-based diet, they often wonder how they will get nutrients like protein. The good news is there are tons of delicious, healthy, whole foods that will give you protein without meat, poultry, fish, or eggs. Here are some of the cleaner options.
Nuts and Seeds
To start with, you can choose different types of nuts and seeds to fill you up and add more protein to your meals and snacks. From peanut butter and almond butter to chia seeds, they pack a nice protein punch. For example, one serving of hemp seeds contains a whopping 11 grams of protein! Plus, it includes other nutrients like fiber, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, and zinc. You can easily add a serving of hemp or chia seeds to your morning smoothie to get an excellent source of protein with breakfast.
While many of the different grains contain some protein, quinoa is one of the most nutritionally balanced. A small serving of ½ cup of quinoa contains 4 grams of protein, and of course, the number goes up if you increase your portion size. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain as well, so it is an excellent option for people with Celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten. It is also high in many vitamins and minerals, plus gives you a little more fiber in your diet.
When you are on a plant-based diet, a good amount of your protein is going to come from beans and legumes. These also happen to be really filling foods, so they can bulk up a recipe without costing too much, but really help fill you up and keep you eating whole, clean foods. Plus, both beans and peas also contain a good amount of fiber. You get about 15 grams of protein in ½ cup of chickpeas, 7 grams of protein in ½ cup of black beans, and 9 grams of protein in ½ cup of cooked lentils.
If you want to find a good alternative to eggs and breakfast meats in the morning, why not a cup of oatmeal? It is warm, filling, satisfying, and packs a good amount of protein as well. In just ½ cup of oatmeal, you can get up to 13 grams of protein. If you want to add even more protein, consider adding some chia seeds or flax seeds to your oatmeal, hemp hearts, or even mixing a scoop of protein powder, then adding a little more liquid.
While we are talking about plant-based food for protein, you may occasionally have eggs. If you want to stick to no meat or poultry, but add little eggs here and there, you are going to get about 6 grams of protein for each egg that you eat.