You don’t have to eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy to get the protein you need for weight loss and optimal health. These five delicious sources of plant protein can give you all the protein your body needs.
One of the reasons people sometimes give for not adopting a plant-based diet is that they worry they won’t get enough protein.
Feeling concerned about protein makes sense. It’s a crucial nutrient that your body needs for all kinds of important functions, including building and repairing cells, tissues, muscles, and bones. Not only does it contribute to good health, but it can also help with weight loss by curbing hunger.
However, even though getting enough protein is critical, that doesn’t mean you have to eat large amounts of animal foods to meet your body’s need for protein. In fact, you can get all the protein you need without ever eating meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy. By choosing protein-rich plant foods, you can get ample protein.
At NutriHealth Weight Loss, which has offices in Georgetown, Middletown and Milford, Delaware, our specialists recommend plant-based eating for successful nutrition-based weight loss and weight maintenance. We help our patients embrace plant-based eating by teaching them how to eat a healthy diet without piling animal foods on their plate at every meal.
Here, we share advice on how to get all the protein you need by including these five great sources of powerful plant-based protein in your daily meal plan.
Powerful plant protein #1: Beans
There are so many kinds of beans, including black beans, white beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, and great northern beans, to name just a few. Beans are a wonderful source of protein. For example, a half-cup of kidney beans contains more protein (8 grams) than an egg (6 grams).
What’s more, beans are a fantastic source of fiber, which helps with digestive health and can lower your risk of heart disease. They are also convenient and inexpensive.
Powerful plant protein #2: Soy
Soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, soy nuts, and edamame are rich sources of protein. They can also serve as delicious meat substitutes on their own or as part of other dishes such as soups, stews, stir fry, sauces, and salads. And soy milk has nearly as much protein as cow’s milk.
Powerful plant protein #3: Nuts and nut butters
Nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and hazelnuts are packed with protein. (Peanuts aren’t technically a nut, but most people think of them as nuts, and they are also good sources of protein.) Try this: Instead of adding protein powder to a smoothie, blend in some nuts or nut butter.
Powerful plant protein #4: Whole-grain foods
You probably don’t think of whole-grain foods as being a good source of protein, but you may be surprised. Whole grains and the foods made with them, such as whole-grain breads, pasta, and cereal, are tasty go-to foods for people seeking protein. For example, a cup of cooked quinoa contains eight grams of protein, which is more than one ounce of chicken.
Powerful plant protein #5: Lentils
Like beans, lentils serve up lots of protein, with a half-cup of cooked lentils weighing in with about nine grams of protein. Lentils are delicious in salads, soups, tacos, veggie bowls, and stews.