Yes, you really can load up on protein from plants!
Whether you’re vegan or not, stocking up on plant-based foods is a great way to meet your protein needs. Vegan protein sources are a very healthy way to get essential amino acids in your diet. Plant-based sources are water soluble, and smaller molecules than animal protein, making it much easier for our systems to digest.
And no, it doesn’t mean eating crazy amounts of beans or meat substitutes. These high protein vegan foods are good for you, delicious and pack a real nutritional punch… Get some broccoli on your fork!
Quinoa is a pseudo-grain, which is actually a seed with an impressive protein content. Just a 1 cup serving contains over 8 grams of complete protein. Yes, quinoa is one of the few plant-based sources of all 9 essential amino acids required by the body. It’s also extremely versatile – enjoy it hot or cold, sweet or savoury. Next time a dish calls for rice or cous cous, substitute quinoa into the recipe instead!
Plant-based protein powder
High quality vegan protein powders are a fantastic way to get a fast hit of plant protein, whether it’s supplementing a weight training program, supporting your general intake, or as part of a nourishing breakfast smoothie.
Even if you don’t follow a plant-based diet, vegan protein powders are also a great alternative for those who experience digestive issues with dairy-based versions. Check out 7 of the best vegan protein powders here, which are all available to purchase from FIT.
Spirulina isn’t only good for getting your daily dose of chlorophyll. This naturally highly nutritious micro algae is a rich source of vegetable protein, among other essential vitamins and minerals.
With over 100 nutrients and a protein content of 60% or more (3-4 times higher than fish or beef!), adding just a teaspoon of spirulina to your regime is a great way to boost your protein intake and support peak health.
Just three tablespoons of these creamy, little seeds gives you a whopping 10g of protein. Bonus: the same serving of hulled hemp seeds also gives you almost 14g of heart healthy omega-3 and -6 fats, and 2 grams of fibre.
Throw them into your smoothies, sauces, dressings or simply sprinkled on top of salads to increase plant protein intake in an instant.
Nuts & nut butters
Nuts and nut butters are a great addition to a plant-based diet or for those wanting to increase their plant-based protein sources. They contain a combination of protein and healthy fats but are also high in calories, so it’s good to eat them with moderation in mind.
Always opt for unsalted, raw varieties and consume about a handful at a time. When it comes to nut butters, make sure the only ingredients are the nuts . Steer clear of hydrogenated oils, salt and sugar, which are commonly added. 1-2 tablespoons of your favourite nut butter is usually a good amount and enough to boost your protein intake. If you are trying to gain muscle or weight, then you can increase your servings of nuts accordingly.
Like quinoa, chia seeds are another one of the coveted complete vegan sources of protein. A 2 tablespoon serving of these wonder seeds provides 4.7 grams of protein, with all 9 essential amino acids. Throw them into your smoothie or let them take centre stage and make a chia pudding. When mixed with liquid and left to soak they absorb many times their size, plumping up and forming a gelatinous consistency. Simply choose your add-ins and create a delicious treat for breakfast, a snack or even dessert!
You always knew it was good for you, but did you know that 1 cup worth of chopped broccoli contains over 8g protein? In addition, it’s low in calories and high water content, which make it perfect for healthy weight management. Blanched or lightly steamed are the healthiest ways to consume this green powerhouse.
Chickpeas are from the legume family and boast 7.3 grams of protein in a half cup serving. They are affordable, easy and delicious. Try throwing them into salads or combined with tahini, lemon juice and garlic to make hummus. Yum!
Tempe & tofu
Tempe and tofu are both made from soybeans and are some of the highest vegetarian protein sources around, containing about 15 grams of plant protein in only half a cup. With a neutral flavour, these foods easily adapt to different recipes and readily take on the taste of what you choose to flavour the dish with. When it comes to soy products, it’s always best to choose organic varieties.
This one may come as a surprise, but the humble green pea contains almost 8 grams of vegetable protein in just one cup, along with a hefty dose of fibre. Being so easy to include in all sorts of vegetable dishes, from soups and curries, to salads and sides, green peas are an easy way to increase your plant protein intake. A recent trend has even seen Instagram health foodies throwing them frozen into smoothies!