The Basics of a High Protein Plant Based Diet for Newbies
While traditional sources of protein, like chicken or beef, are an effective way to help your body build and retain muscle, many people have begun to consider more plant based options to get the protein they need. When you start to think outside of the box, there are many plant-based foods to choose from that pack a surprising protein punch. Plant proteins are often lower in calories on top of containing a great deal of antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats to help your body thrive. If you're considering moving more heavily to a plant based diet, we've got a few suggestions to help you get started. Needless to say, these are just the tip of the beanstalk. Sorry. Couldn't help it.
Plant Based Proteins to Consider
- Tofu and Soybeans – With 4 ounces of tofu packing 11 grams of protein and a single cup of edamame containing 18 grams of protein, these both make awesome tools for adding protein to any plant based diet. While processed soy items like veggie burgers are not always the most healthful addition to your diet, non-processed soy like tofu or soy beans are perfectly good sources of fiber, iron and complete protein.
- Quinoa – Did you know that one of the most delicious ancient grains also contains plenty of protein? One cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein, and it is a complete protein source that contains all essential amino acids. Quinoa is also very flexible, as you can incorporate it into your breakfast mixed in your oatmeal, added to your salad at lunch and as a side or substitution for lunch with your dinner. You can even use quinoa in desserts! It's a natural replacement for white flour or cornmeal as a thickener in soups, stews and plant base chili.
- Black Beans – Black beans are some of the most popular beans thanks to their affordability and great taste. They are packed with fiber, iron and protein. You can mix black beans into your salsa before you dip your chips, sprinkle them on a salad or even make homemade veggie burgers with them.
- Chickpeas – Chickpeas are a very satisfying meat substitute that can be used in place of tuna or other meats in a salad or bowl. Chickpeas also contain magnesium and potassium that are great for your cardiovascular system. One of the most popular ways to use hummus in a plant base diet is in the form of a spread on a sandwich or a dip for veggies and chips.
- Lentils – Just like beans, lentils are an awesome source of protein and fiber. They work very well mixed into soup, sprinkled on a salad or enjoyed all by themselves. One cup of lentils carries an impressive 18 grams of protein.
- Hemp Seeds – Often overlooked, hemp seeds might not look like much, but they are one of the easiest sources of protein to incorporate into your plant based diet. Because of their mild taste, you can slip them into baked goods, your smoothie or a salad without noticing them. Three tablespoons of hemp seeds contains 9 grams of protein, and they also contain a wide range of nutrients like magnesium.
- Almonds – Don’t like seeds or beans? Almonds are a tasty way to add protein to your daily intake and they are nuts, not legumes like peanuts. Almonds have 6 grams of protein in every ounce and they taste delicious. Before you assume the same thing about almond milk, make sure that you check the nutrition facts. Much almond milk has much less protein than raw almonds.
Is a Plant Based Diet Right for You
As we stated at the top, these represent only a handful of the most popular plant based proteins, and a couple of lesser knowns, that you might try first in your exploration of a plant based diet. Obviously, there are hundreds to consider. Only you can determine which ones fit your needs, your lifestyle, and perhaps most importantly, the ones that actually taste good to you. Everything is up to personal taste, but none more than the things we put in our bodies. Happy exploring.
RX Fitness Equipment Can Hook You Up
If you're considering trying out a plant based diet and would like to discuss it with a professional, RX Fitness Equipment works with hundreds of nutritionists, personal trainers and coaches. We'd be happy to recommend one. If you're looking for a great selection of fitness equipment and accessories of all kinds, we carry the top brands to fit every goal and budget and we're here to make your fitness routine more productive. Stop by our store in Thousand Oaks or give us a call. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.
Contact Tim Adams for a free consultation or stop by the store and take something for a test drive. We’re here to help.