Whether you’re a vegetarian, trying to eat less animal protein and animal products, or just simply looking to get more plant based food into your diet - there is one major concern. Where can you get a significant amount of protein enough to fulfil the recommended RDI of 46g (Women) and 56g (Men) per day?
Let’s face it, animal protein is the go-to protein source in every meal. A standard serving (100g) of tuna already contains 20 to 25g of protein - that's almost half of the RDI. You don’t need to eat a ton to get the recommended daily intake of protein in your diet.
Protein builds a stronger you
Getting enough protein in your diet is very important. It is the main building block of muscles, tendons, organs, and skin. Proteins are composed of smaller chains called amino acids which are important links in enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. If you’re not eating meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and other animal based products, your body might not be getting enough protein.
The good news is, there are a lot of plant based food that are rich in protein. Here’s a list of some of the richest plant based sources of protein and how you can incorporate them into your diet.
- Legumes and Pulses: Considered to be rich sources of starchy protein, legumes and pulses are easy and delicious staples in every pantry. 1 cup of cooked lentils provides 18g of protein. You can add them to stews, top salads, combine with quinoa, add to savoury loaves, or make “meatballs”.
- Beans: Similar to legumes and pulses, beans are one of the best sources of plant based protein. They keep well once stored in a cool dry place, and you can do a lot with them. 1 cup of beans has 15g of protein. You can boil and salt them, add them to rice or quinoa bowls, add them to salad, fill burritos or tortilla wraps with them, make “burgers”, loaves, or add them into veggie stews.
- Chia seeds: These seeds absorb water like crazy and turn into a gel which can help to naturally thicken food. That’s why they’re great for smoothies! A mere 2 tbsp of this has 4g of protein. Sprinkle it on top of oatmeal, make pudding with it, and of course, add to smoothies for a thick milkshake consistency.
- Nuts: These snack-able, nutrient powerhouses have a high protein content. ¼ cup holds approximately 9g of protein. Be sure to get plain ones so you don’t get the extra sugar or salt. You can top salads, add them to porridge, use them in baked goods, or just eat them plain.
- Soy: Soy based foods tops the list of plant based protein sources. A single serving of tempeh, tofu or edamame has a whopping 20g of protein! That’s almost half of the RDI. Tofu and tempeh can be stir fried and used to replace meat in most recipes. Add them to soups, salads, and stews, You can marinate them and broil or fry them.
- Protein Powder: Pea, hemp and brown rice are all plant based and can be added to smoothies as well as chia puddings, oats or pancakes to create a fulfilling breakfast.