High Protein Plant-Based Foods
In this article, we’re going to break down the best high protein plant-based foods. But first, let us dispel the myth that people following a plant-based lifestyle need to be concerned about protein deficiency or daily protein requirements at all.
The Truth About Protein
There is no real evidence of dietary protein deficiency.
In fact, according to the renowned physician Dr. Michael Greger, people who follow a plant-based diet get an average 70% more protein than they may need every single day. In contrast, less than 3% of Americans get the recommended minimum intake of fiber, 96% don’t eat enough leafy greens, 96% don’t eat enough legumes and 99% don’t eat enough whole grains. It is believed that the ‘protein myth’ has been perpetuated for decades by the meat and dairy industries.
The average requirement for protein is 42grams per day. As you will see later in this article, that is extremely easy to achieve by eating a variety of whole, plant-based foods.
Rather than having such a hyper focus on protein, we need to shift our spotlight to eating a variety of whole, plant-based foods.
Why should you eat more plants?
No matter the reason you’re considering eating more plant foods, it’s essential to include them in your diet for optimal nutrition and above all for you to be satisfied with a plant-based diet. This is precisely why we recommend transitioning to a whole-food plant-based diet.
Explicitly following a whole-food plant-based diet will reduce your risk to many major illnesses and it will have long-lasting lifestyle benefits as well. We’ve recently written an informative article on ‘Reasons to go Plant-Based in 2020’.
Before we get into the which plant sources have the highest amounts of protein per gram. We want to share with you a general guide on whole-foods to incorporate in your diet.
Examples of plant-based foods in a whole-foods diet:
Vegetables – Leafy Greens, Fresh Herbs, Squash, Brussels, Brocolli, Sprouts, Mushrooms, Peppers, Tomatoes, Sea Vegetables, Zucchini, Avocado Celery + more.
Fruits – Bananas, Berries, Melons, Pineapple, Tropical Fruits, Pears, Plums, Cherries + more.
Whole Grains – Quinoa, Brown Rice, Barley, Millet, Amaranth, Oats, Whole Wheat + more.
Legumes – Black beans, Chickpeas, Lentils, Green Beans, Edamame, Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Mung Beans, Fava Beans, Soybeans + more.
Root Vegetables – All Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Turnips, Diakon, Fennel, Beets, Garlic, Ginger + more.
Misc – Tea, Plant Milk, Chia Seeds, Goji Berries, Superfoods, Hemp, Flaxseed, Nuts, Seeds + more.
Moderate – Tempeh, tofu, minimally processed seitan, cereals, granolas + more.
Every Vegetable Contains Protein
When following a plant-based diet, every single vegetable already has a small amount of protein in their macro breakdown. Therefore, you may be pleasantly surprised if you were to track your macros and see how many grams per day of protein you’re actually consuming. Also, it is beneficial to be mindful of the amount of protein these plant foods do contain.
What About Athletes and Protein?
A well rounded whole-food plant-based diet has been adopted by many vegan athletes and bodybuilders across the globe. If you have yet to watch the documentary ‘Game Changers’, we highly recommend it.
This documentary will show the power that a plant-based diet has on your athletic performance and in fact, how it is possible to live any high-performance lifestyle on a well designed plant-based diet.
It may be possible that in special circumstances of athletic performance you may want to increase your daily protein intake. In this case, there are now many amazing plant-based protein powders on the market, as well as the incredible sources of plant protein below!
Here is the list of plant-based foods that contain the highest amount of protein:
Lentil – 9 gram per half cup
Lentils are the perfect protein addition to add to your vegan dishes. We find lentils to be great in recipes that are hearty and have a meat-like texture. We love that they come in many varieties such as brown, yellow, green and black. A few of our favourite lentil-based dishes are a lentil sloppy joe, lentil chilli, lentil bolognese and sweet potato lentil soup!
Quinoa – 11 gram per cup
We think quinoa is magical! Quinoa is a part of the Amaranthaceae family which is very similar to the texture of a grain but actually is a seed. Quinoa is an excellent alternative to your traditional rice or pasta. We love to pair quinoa in many of our dishes and usually use it as a base or side dish to our centre of the plate protein source. Quinoa packs a big punch of protein and is delicious when combined with other protein sources along with non-starchy vegetables.
Hemp Seeds – 13 grams per 3 tbsp
Okay, we know you are not going to shovel 3 tbsp of hemp seeds into your mouth in order to swallow down 13 grams of protein. There is no way you would do that! Therefore, we want to share with you how to use your hemp seeds because they are great to add to your smoothies, overnight oats, banana ice cream, chia puddings, breakfast dishes and granola! We love to sprinkle hemp seeds in many recipes to get that extra kick of protein.
Beans – 8-10 grams per half-cup (Black Beans, Chickpeas, Pinto Beans, Green Peas)
We love beans in our Plant Ahead Meal Plans. Beans are a great addition to your lunch or dinner recipes. We specifically enjoy them in burritos, curry, pasta, salads, buddha bowls, veggie burgers and the list could go on forever. Beans are also a valuable source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
Tempeh – 20 grams or 4 ounces
Tempeh we love to enjoy on occasion and can make a great recipe to introduce anyone curious to a plant-based diet due to its meaty texture. We adore it because it is fermented, tempeh holds a load of nutritional value. It is a soybean-based type of food and is excellent for your digestion being naturally, probiotic-rich! We’ve used tempeh to make tacos, stir fry, vegan meatballs, and every time the recipe turns out to be delicious! Tempeh has great macros for aiming for high protein in plant-based foods.
Pumpkin Seeds – 6 grams per half-cup
We love to have Pumpkin Seeds on hand because one can grab a handful for a snack. Sprinkle them on your rice bowls, pasta’s, salads and you can even make them into a nut butter substitute. Pumpkin Seed butter is a great option for anyone that has a nut allergy and is looking for a nut-free choice. Pumpkin Seed butter has a strong nutty taste similar to your traditional all-natural nut butter, for example, cashew or almond.
Edamame – 9 grams per half-cup
Edamame is one of my favourite foods and I could easily eat half a cup of edamame on my own. It is that good. Edamame is also in the soybean family, and you can eat them cooked straight from the pod or whole. You can buy edamame frozen as well. So remember to stock up on the Edamame. That way, you’ll be able to whip up a quick high protein meal when hungry hits.
Spirulina – 4 grams per tbsp
Did you know that spirulina contains all your essential amino acids and contains several healthy nutrients? It’s true! Spirulina is a blue-green algae and it is not something I would personally eat on its own due to its rather strong bitter taste. Spirulina is recommended to be added to green juices, smoothie recipes, sprinkle some into soups or mix into a baked recipe.
Chia Seeds – 4 grams 2 tbsp
Chia Seeds are another high protein plant-food that is a perfect addition to your plant-based creations. We love to top this on our breakfast cereals, protein pancakes, coconut yoghurts, smoothie bowls and much more. Chia Seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acid, rich in antioxidants and iron! I’d consider Chia Seeds to be one of the superfoods.
How can you incorporate these high protein plant-based foods?
We make it easier than ever to include high protein plant-based foods into your diet. When joining the Plant Ahead Meal Plan Program, you will get instant access to a database with one full year worth of whole-food plant-based oil-free and refined sugar-free recipes. Not only will you be getting plant protein into your diet, but you will be eating foods that are natural and not heavily processed.
The Plant Ahead Meal Plan Program also includes the full caloric information for each recipe. This information is helpful if you’re looking to track your macros when it comes to aiming for high protein consumption.
Will, you be having the same foods every week or do we include variety?
When following a whole-food plant-based diet, you can check off all the boxes when it comes to nutrition. We also make sure that we give you a variety when it comes to meal prepping every week. We love to have themed meal plans on holidays, and we always keep our recipes in conjunction with the current seasons.
This way you can enjoy warm comfort foods in the winter months, refreshing recipes in the summer, festive options in the fall and fresh meals in the springtime. No matter the season though, our meal plans are always DELICIOUS!
When eating a plant-based diet you won’t find it boring or tasteless. You’re going to be able to stick to a plant-based diet when you have all the proper resources and value-added information. At Plant You, we pride ourselves on being a resource for everything plant-based.
So, what are you waiting for?
It’s time to dive into the Plant Ahead Meal Plan Program and start enjoying all of our healthy whole-food, protein-packed recipes!