For those transitioning to a more plant-centered diet, a common concern is that they might lack protein. Have no fear! In this post we talk all about how plants have protein and some great sources.
Most people have been told from a young age that the only source of protein is animal meat. The good news is that many health experts agree that it is possible to get sufficient protein from a plant-based diet so long as you are conscious of what you're eating.
This lifestyle also comes with the added bonus of reducing your carbon footprint on the planet! Some of the benefits one can reap from sufficient protein in the diet includes muscle strength, prolonged satiety in between meals, and weight loss. While it's true you can incorporate protein into your diet with plant-based foods, there are certain foods that offer more protein than others.
If you're someone that eats rice often but are on the market for something lower-carb, consider making the switch to quinoa. It doesn't have to be done all at once, it's very easy to incorporate quinoa into smaller dishes like salads, to begin with.
Quinoa takes longer to digest in the body so it keeps you feeling full for longer but without that added sensation of lethargy. Quinoa is also something called a pseudo-grain. It tastes and feels like a grain but it's actually a seed - hence the higher protein content.
With the growing popularity of quinoa, many appliances on the market such as the Instant Pot come with a button dedicated to cooking quinoa, so there's no need to buy a separate device to cook it. It is also easy to work with even when you have leftovers, so don't hesitate to make it in bulk.
You probably already have a can or two of black beans lying around for those occasional Taco Tuesday nights, to use in soups, etc. Black beans are pretty forgiving and easy to experiment with on the spot without a designated recipe to follow. They taste good in just about everything, plain or seasoned.
Keep it super simple with a black bean soup, or play around with different flavors making dips/spreads. Have you been wanting to try that burger at the new burger joint in town but they don't have a plant-based option? No worries, whip up a black bean patty for your burger at home! One thing to note is that canned black beans sometimes contain more sodium than fresh black beans so be sure to adjust the additional salt added to the recipe.
If you thought whole wheat bread was as good as it can get, consider trying Ezekiel bread. Unlike the many varieties on the supermarket shelves, Ezekiel bread isn't made from refined wheat nor does it contain a whole bunch of added sugar. In fact, it contains none!
With some of the other brands, you could be consuming more than the daily recommended intake of sugar just by preparing one sandwich. This bread is made from organic, sprouted grains. The sprouting process means that Ezekiel bread is able to offer more nutrients to the consumer. Ezekiel bread also contains 0 artificial sweeteners and 0 added preservatives. You'll usually find it in the freezer in supermarkets because freezing slows down the bread from going bad quickly.
Spinach is one of those foods that's been shoved down our throats, literally and figuratively, by all our moms. Love it or hate it, it was unavoidable at the dinner table growing up. I don't think I need to get into the reasons why it's so good for you.
While it's easy for adults to suck it up and drink a smoothie with some spinach in it because they know the health benefits outweigh the slightly bland taste, I understand the challenge is much bigger to get the little ones to consume spinach. Green doesn't always mean boring. Consider making a vibrant Mexican salad with finely chopped spinach, so the kids mistake it for lettuce and don't go running, and combine it with some corn, beans, and other veggies of your choice. Maybe throw together some stuffed mushrooms or bell peppers with a delectable spinach artichoke filling.
I will be honest, at first, I thought people were crazy for suggesting putting nutritional yeast on popcorn and claiming that it will never make you crave buttery popcorn again. I mean, how could yeast possibly replace butter? This was until I realized that nutritional yeast doesn't mean the same yeast we think of when we think of bread. And until I tried it for myself of course. This stuff is probably the best-kept secret of the vegan world (well, it's not as big of a secret anymore). The cheesy flavor it gives off makes it a nice addition to so many different things; soups, sauteed veggies, pizza, salads, and so much more!
Hemp seeds are nice because they don't require a lot of prior preparation and they're relatively mild in flavor. Picky eater friendly food! While the same can be said for chia seeds, chia seeds definitely change the overall texture of your food the more time goes on. For some, they simply can't get past that ooey-gooey feeling of chia seeds going down their throats. Luckily, this isn't a problem with hemp seeds, so it's easier to add into dishes and recipes you already know your kids will eat.
Another added bonus is that hemps contain even more protein than chia seeds so hemp seeds are definitely one to look out for the next time you're at the grocery store if protein is what you are looking for.
Since hemp seeds don't thicken up your food or change the flavor profile drastically, there are not many limitations as to what it can be added to. Add it into salads, stir-fries, oatmeal, even hummus. It doesn't contain as much fiber as chia seeds or flax seeds, so it's also forgiving even if you were to be a little heavy-handed.
Author: Shruti is a current intern and recent graduate from The University of North Texas holding a bachelor’s of business administration degree in marketing. She has a passion for digital marketing, with a focus on social media, and advertising. In her free time, she enjoys baking, watching movies, and going on hikes.