Are you a fitness enthusiast who wants to reduce your carbon footprint and improve your health? If so, you probably already know that replacing meat with alternative foods is one of the biggest ways to contribute. And as much as you want to help, are you worried about meeting your protein intake goals? Or does the idea of tofu being the only good source of protein bore you? We’re here to help with that. There are many plant-based alternative foods that have an optimal amount of protein, along with other helpful nutrients. Read on to learn about a few of them:
Pulses and legumes are amazing yet underrated sources of protein. This category includes all sorts of beans, peas, and lentils. Oh, and did we mention that they are inexpensive as well? Each serving is loaded with fiber, and iron, and helps in lowering cholesterol levels. They can be taken as soups or as an addition to your sauces. Each cup serving comes packed with approximately 18 grams of protein.
Not only do nuts and oil seeds make for a great source of protein, but they are also a vital source of healthy fats - perfect for those who are looking to gain muscle. And before you get skeptical, these are unsaturated fats, which are known to be beneficial for heart health. We advise that you stick to a handful of them a day, adding them to your smoothies, as garnishing on your meals, or just as is. Though the exact values differ, on average, you can expect every 30 grams to give you 4-8 grams of protein.
Greek yogurt is a versatile food item that can be used for toppings, dips, and even in smoothies. But did you know that it’s also a rich source of protein? Each cup is loaded with approximately 23 grams of protein, along with calcium, and lots of gut-friendly probiotics. Just have it as is or mix it with your favorite nuts for a boost in the protein you’re taking.
Don’t let the looks deceive you. Green peas don’t exactly give the impression that they are rich in protein. Nor do they look appetizing to many. But, as a matter of fact, they are a very rich source of protein and known to be tasteless. Add them to stews, vegetable smoothies, and salads, or just have them as a side dish with a strong sauce. Or maybe mix in a cup of pea milk in your next smoothie. You can enjoy 8 grams of pea protein per cup without even having to taste it.
The benefits of chia seeds are pretty well known. They are a super-food, dense in nutrients, fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can be blended into smoothies, or used as garnishing and toppings. Each tablespoon of chia seeds contains 3 grams of protein. Mix it with the nuts in your yogurt or pea-milk smoothie for an extra protein kick.
Oats are another great source of protein and are extremely pocket-friendly. Besides being rich in protein, oats are also a good source of magnesium, zinc, folate, and phosphorus. Half a cup of oats provides 5 grams of protein. You can have oats in the form of oatmeal or as a substitute for refined flour in your baking goods.
Not many are aware of the fact that mushrooms are an excellent source of protein. These unassuming protein powerhouses are rich in antioxidants and bioactive compounds that are great for muscle recovery. It can be consumed in more ways than we can list, so they’re super easy to incorporate into the busiest of lifestyles. A 100-gram serving of mushrooms provides around 3.1 grams of protein.
You don't have to lose out to help out!
Any lifestyle or diet is incomplete without protein. Protein is a vital nutrient that helps in building muscle mass and does away with extra body fat. Wanting to switch to plant-based meals to help yourself or the plant should not deprive you of any vital nutrients. We hope that this list helps you out on your journey to give back to the planet.