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How To Get Protein Eating Plant-Based And Thrive

Worried whether you can get enough protein while eating a plant-based diet? No problem! Switching to a plant-based lifestyle can still meet your protein needs and keep you satisfied.

image of a black bean burger on a bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and dairy free cheese

 

 

 

 

Following a plant-based diet sounds like a great idea, but can you really get all the protein your body needs from plant sources alone?

Absolutely!

What Is A Plant-Based Diet?

It’s generally defined as eating primarily fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes ― no meat, seafood, dairy or eggs.

 

How Does Plant-Based Differ From Vegan?

Veganism excludes animal-derived foods just like a plant-based diet, however it also excludes any item that harms animals. For example, leather clothing, purses, shoes, personal care products and medications that are tested on animals, etc.

Regardless of your reasons for wanting to incorporate more plants into your diet, you can easily get enough protein from plant sources. You’ll learn some delicious sources of plant protein to look for the next time you head to the supermarket.

 

Boost your health and feel vibrant again!

 

How Much Protein Do You Need?

How much protein you need depends on several things; activity level, metabolism, if you are ill, etc. However, typically the RDA is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. One kilogram equals 2.2 pounds, so a person that weighs 165 pounds would need about 60 grams of protein per day.

Unfortunately, most Americans are ignoring less expensive and more nutritious plant-based proteins like chickpeas, black beans and soy products when reaching their RDA of protein. Some people think that if you don’t eat an animal, you won’t get enough protein.

The meat industry has spent millions of dollars to promote its products, but unfortunately the growers of chickpeas, lentil and peas don’t have the funds to compete.

It’s time to ignore the ads and marketing and shop with the knowledge that you can get all of your protein needs from plants.

Remember this one thing and you will be set for plant-based success – every plant has protein!

 

Here are 13 plant-based protein packed foods to fill your belly!

You may or may not have heard of some of these foods, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying them. Be curious, find a recipe from Pinterest and enjoy!

 

Tempeh

image of tempeh, a plant based protein,  sliced into blocks

 

 

 

 

 

You can find tempeh in the refrigerated section of the supermarket and right next to the tofu. It offers has 16 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving. It’s fermented soy and tastes slightly nutty. You can eat it cold or cooked. It’s great in a stir-fry or anywhere you would have typically used sliced chicken, like a tempeh salad sandwich or a buffalo tempeh wrap.

 

Beans

A half-cup of beans has approximately 7 grams of protein and they are an inexpensive source, especially if you buy dried beans. 

Beans are very versatile and can be eaten in soups, salads, sandwiches, tacos, burgers, even pizza. No kidding! Check out this Great Greek Pizza.

image of a slice of pizza being held over a plate. The pizza has hummus instead of tomato sauce for a source of plant based protein.tionally Eat with Cindy Newland on a plate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edamame

It packs nearly 12 grams of protein in a half-cup and is easy to cook. You can buy it frozen, either in the shell or already steamed and shelled.

They make a great snack or additions to a salad, pasta or stir-fry. You can even blend them to make edamame hummus.

image of edamame another source of plant based protein

 

 

 

 

Lentils

All plant-based foods have fiber, and lentils are a really good source of protein and fiber.

They pack 9 grams of protein per half cup and nearly 8 grams of fiber. Not only are they rich in protein and fiber, they offer vitamins, minerals and polyphenols, which are said to have anti-obesity, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetes properties.

They are inexpensive and versatile. You can purchase them dried or canned and use them in salads, soups, burgers, tacos, pasta and more.

 

Nuts and Seeds

Who doesn’t love peanut butter? Well, if you are allergic you might not be in love. However, there are alternatives like sunflower seed butter. These nut/seed butters are a simple way to introduce plant-based proteins into your diet.

Don’t just stop there! You can try hemp seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, poppy seeds and pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle them on salads, sandwiches, soups, chia seed pudding or use them to replace eggs in baked goods. Check out How To Make A Chia Egg. Seeds like hemp can provide up to 10 grams of protein in 3 Tablespoons.

There are many types of nuts to choose from besides peanuts. Try cashew, peanut, macadamia, hazelnut, pecan, almond, pistachio, brazil, walnut, chestnut or pine nuts. They can provide 5-6 grams of protein per 1/4 cup. Remember to reach for raw nuts instead of roasted and salted to get all of the nutritious benefits.

 

Tofu

image of two plates of tofu, one a solid block and one is cubed

 

 

 

 

 

Soy products don’t have the best reputation. According to one study it has been linked to breast cancer, however that study was in animals and doesn’t appear to be an issue for humans. With that being said, I strongly suggest eating organic soy products and paying attention to how your body and hormones react to the phytoestrogens.

Soy products include milk, edamame, miso, tofu, tempeh and soy nuts, so you can incorporate it in many ways. Tofu contains 8 grams of protein for 3 ounces, making it a great alternative to animal meat.

You can use extra-firm or firm tofu in stir-fry, sandwiches, pasta, curries or tacos. You can use silk tofu in puddings, soups, plant-based cheeses, smoothies and desserts.

 

Quinoa and Grains

Quinoa is a seed, however it is usually referred to as a grain and can be used as such. One cup of cooked quinoa offers 8 grams of protein.

It’s simple to cook and can even be found already cooked in the freezer section of the grocery store.

You can enjoy it for breakfast instead of oatmeal, in salads, soups or in Mexican inspired dishes like this Mexican Quinoa Skillet.

image of mexican quinoa skillet on a white plate with tortilla chips, avocado and a fork

 

 

 

 

 

Other grains like oats, barley, teff, millet and amaranth add 5-6 grams of protein. They are simple to cook and inexpensive.

 

Nutritional Yeast

Don’t let the name fool you, this plant-based product is gluten-free. It has a distinct cheese-like flavor and can be used in soups, dips, plant-based cheeses or sprinkled on pasta, vegetables, pizza or popcorn.

You can find it in the health-food section of most supermarkets, typically near the spices or soy sauce or HERE. It has 8 grams of protein in 1/4 cup, plus its loaded with B vitamins.

It tastes amazing in this Spinach Artichoke Dip!

image of healthy spinach artichoke dip in a glass bowl with a gold spoon. The nutritional yeast is a good source of plant based protein.

 

Vegetables & Fruits

Remember that all plants have protein. Research shows that all plants contain protein and at least 14% of the total calories of every plant are protein.

How can you incorporate more fruits and vegetables to your meals? Add spinach, kale, or greens to soups or sandwiches. Grab a snack of cherry tomatoes, carrots and cucumber slices to dip into hummus. You can enjoy a smoothie for breakfast or a snack and load it with berries, bananas, kale, avocado and spinach. For dessert, blend a frozen banana or avocado for delicious “nice cream”. Try these Nice Cream variations.

image of cherry tomatoes, carrots, berries and dip for 7 best meal prep hacks by intentionally eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peas

Peas are so amazing they deserve a special mention. One cup of cooked peas has 8 grams of protein.

You can find pea based protein powder like this ONE to add to smoothies or baked goods. They are even beginning to make a pea based “tofu-like” product.

 

Grab your FREE Plant-Based Pantry/Fridge Checklist and make sure you have what you need to eat well!

 

Plant-Based Protein For The Win

Regardless of which plant-based protein you reach for you will be getting fiber and that cannot be said about animal protein. Plant protein is also low fat, typically low calorie and no cholesterol, again that cannot be said about animal protein.

You can feel good about choosing a plant-based diet and know for certain that you will be getting enough protein.

 

Hungry For More?

If you want more tips and information about a plant-based diet subscribe to my weekly newsletter. You’ll receive new delicious recipes that will save you time and nourish your body!

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Disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.

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20 Comments

  1. I hope to one day adopt a plant-based diet or if a can’t do it, a diet that is heavier on plants than on meats. I think it’s doable though because there are many great plant-based alternatives these days. It’s really more for my health.

  2. I love quinua! It’s a staple dish at my home, but I sure would love to vary options based on your suggestions. Thanks!

  3. Such a great guide. It still boggles me to no end that people still think you can’t get enough protein on a plant based diet. I looooove tofu and tempeh for their versatility. Seitan is also a really good option. When in doubt sprinkle a bit of nooch (nutritional yeast) on everything hahaha.

  4. Rounding out your plant-based diet with protein-heavy foods doesn’t have to be difficult. Tofu is my favorite one, contain high protein and yummy.

  5. Great advice! I love tofu based products, and have always loved alternatives to meat etc. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do tend to stick to more plant based foods.

  6. I never knew much about a plant-based protein diet and the differences. Thanks for sharing this informative post with us, we actually love eating lentils, tofu, and beans here in our household.

  7. I used to be 100% plant-based. I left the 100% in the past but still eat a high volume of plant-based foods.

    1. I love tofu, i think it can be a best subs for meat. In most cases Plant based food were more pricey compared to meat hence consumers go to which ever is on sale from the rack. Awareness can boost change of mindshift too since we can grow most of these greens in our backyard.

  8. this is such a great post! i’m vegan and learned a ton! will definitely incorporate more of a variety to my diet!

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