10 Plant Based Protein Sources
Here are 10 plant-based protein sources to help you plan your meals. There is a misconception that plant-based protein sources can’t fulfill all the protein requirements of the body because of the lack of one or more Essential Amino Acids (EAAs). However, that’s not true. Many studies prove that a well-planned vegan or vegetarian diet contains all the nutrients you need. Some plant products, such as quinoa and soybeans, contain complete essential amino acids and even have more protein and fewer calories than animal products, research suggests.
Below is a list of 10 plant-based protein sources containing a high amount of protein.
Tofu originates from soybeans and is an excellent source of protein. It provides the body with all the essential amino acids. It is made from bean curds hard-pressed together just like cheesemaking. The tofu comes in varying softness- soft, silken, firm, or extra firm. In appearance, it looks like cheese Indian paneer, and therefore in many hotels and restaurants, it is used as a substitute for paneer. It contains good amounts of iron, calcium and approx. 10-19 grams of protein per 4 ounces. You can use Tofu in a variety of recipes, including smoothie, burgers, soups, and other heartier dishes.
Lentils top the list of all beans in terms of protein content with around 18 grams of protein per cooked cup of 240 ml. They also have good amounts of carbs and a single 240 ml cup gives about 50 percent of your suggested daily fiber intake. The fiber available in lentils stimulates a healthy gut. Consuming lentils on a daily basis also reduces your chances of getting diabetes, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer. Apart from protein, Lentils are also rich in iron, magnesium, folate, and antioxidants.
3. Chickpeas and Other Beans
Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, is a plant legume and contains high protein. The other varieties of beans such as pinto, kidney, black, to name a few also have good amounts of protein per serving. Both chickpeas and beans have around 15 grams of protein per cup (240ml). A diet rich in beans and other legumes helps manage blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and even support weight loss. These are also a very good source of folate, iron, complex carbs, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and several other plant compounds.
4. Chia seeds
These tiny nutritional powerhouses are a versatile source of plant proteins as well as several other vital nutrients like zinc, iron, selenium, magnesium, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. It contains about 3.5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. Although, they have a bland taste, yet mixing the soaked chia seeds makes them easy to add in a variety of dishes, including smoothies, chia puddings, and baked goods.
Some people would call ‘Quinoa’ a “complete protein” as it contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is an excellent plant-based protein source with 8 grams of quality protein per cup (180 grams). This grain is also good for people who are in a gluten-free diet.
One big cooked potato with skin offers 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are an exceptionally good source of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and Vitamin C. Made up of carbs, protein, and fiber, a fresh potato is also high in water but no fat. The best part is that you can add this nutritional vegetable in any vegetable. It even enhances the taste of any cuisine.
Oatmeal is undoubtedly a nutritious and balanced diet. Raw oats contain 11 grams of protein per cup. Also, it contains an ample dose of carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients. It has avenalin- a protein that is not present in any other grains and is close to legume proteins.
8. Nutritional Yeast
These nutty-yellow flakes contain all nine essential amino acids. Hence, the regular intake of it is essential for your daily protein needs. Two tablespoons contain around 8 grams of protein, a good amount of iron and vitamin B.
Broccoli is a very popular vegetable, which is relatively higher in protein than most other vegetables. One cup (88g) of broccoli has 2.5 grams of protein. Even this cruciferous veggie has more protein than some kinds of beef.
It is a nutritional nut that contains 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. Along with protein, almonds are also rich in vitamin E, which is extremely good for skin and eyes.