What the Best Plant-Based Protein Sources Are
Protein is very important for maintaining good health and longevity. It is responsible for the growth and maintenance of tissue, balancing fluids in our body, developing the immune system, making muscles, hormones, and much more. Not getting enough protein can affect our health and body composition, so it’s crucial to consume these nutrients.
Proteins can be found in meat and dairy products but also in many vegetables, which suits the vegan and vegetarian diet. 5-Minute Crafts gathered a list of plant-based proteins to help you get your daily intake.
1. Legumes and beans
Legumes and beans are high in protein, but they are also a good source of fiber, iron, and potassium, like:
- Quinoa has 8.14 grams (0.28 ounces) per cup. It’s also rich in fiber, antioxidants, and minerals, and you can add them to salads, use them to make veggie burgers, casseroles, and much more.
- Green peas have 8.6 grams (0.30 ounces) per cup. Green peas are often boiled and mixed with butter or cooked in soups.
- Chickpeas have 14.5 grams (0.51 ounces) per cup. Chickpeas are also rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
- Lima beans have 14.7 grams (0.52 ounces) per cup. They are also called “butter beans” and can be cooked in soups or served as a side dish.
- Navy beans, in one cup, contain 15 grams (0.53 ounces). They are dry and smaller than other beans and can be baked or cooked in a soup.
- Black beans have 15.2 grams (0.53 ounces) per cup. Black beans are great for making stews.
- Kidney beans contain 15.3 grams (0.54 ounces) per cup. It’s best to leave these beans to soak overnight before cooking them properly.
- Pinto beans contain 15.4 grams (0.54 ounces) per cup. Pinto beans are also rich in fiber.
- Split beans contain 16.3 grams (0.57 ounces) per cup. They look a little bit like green peas but they’re not, as they are dry and split. These beans need to be cooked for 45 minutes before eating.
- Cranberry beans have 16.5 grams (0.58 ounces) per cup. You can cook them or use them as a snack.
- Edamame has 16.9 grams (0.59 ounces) per cup. Edamame beans are immature soybeans that need to be steamed or boiled before eating.
- White beans have 17.4 grams (0.61 ounces) in one cup. White beans can be cooked in soups and stews and can be stored in a dry place at room temperature for up to 3 years.
- Lentils contain 17.9 grams (0.63 ounces). They are great in soups and salads.
- Soybeans have 28.6 grams (1 ounce). You can eat them in many different ways. Tofu or tempeh are made of soybeans and all 3 soy-based proteins are one of the best sources of nutrients.
2. Seeds and nuts
Seeds and nuts can come in handy because you can eat them as a snack or add them to your main dishes:
- Chia seeds have 4.4 grams (0.15 ounces) in one ounce (2 tbsp). You can use them as a replacement for eggs, especially when baking cake or brownies.
- Sesame seeds contain 4.7 grams (0.16 ounces) per ounce. Sesame seeds are used for making tahini sauce and go great with salads.
- Flax seeds have 5.1 grams (0.17 ounces) per ounce. They are harder to digest when they are whole, so it’s better to ground them up.
- Sunflower seeds contain 5.4 grams (0.19 ounces) per ounce. These are very common since they are used for making oil or as a snack.
- Hemp seeds have 6.3 grams (0.22 ounces) in one ounce. You can sprinkle them on salads or roasted veggies.
- Pumpkin seeds contain 9.2 grams (0.32 ounces) per ounce. These seeds are great for seasoning or as a snack.
List of nuts:
- In hazelnuts, you can find 4.24 grams (0.14 ounces) in one ounce. Hazelnuts are rich in folate, fiber, and vitamin E.
- Walnuts contain 4.32 grams (0.15 ounces) per ounce. These nuts are excellent brain food since they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
- Cashews have 5.16 grams (0.18 ounces) per ounce. Cashews are a great source of important vitamins and minerals.
- Pistachios have 5.72 grams (0.20 ounces) in one ounce. People eat pistachios fresh or roasted and salted and are often used as ingredients in ice cream and desserts.
- Almonds, in a single ounce, contain 6 grams (0.21 ounces) of protein. Almonds go nicely with various dishes and they can be eaten raw and roasted.
- Peanuts contain 7.31 grams (0.25 ounces) per ounce. Even though they belong to the legume family, in the culinary sense, they are considered nuts.
Vegetables can also provide the nutrients that you need:
- Mushrooms, sliced, have 3.9 grams (0.13 ounces) in one cup. They are great for grilling, stuffing, or just boiling.
- Avocados have 4 grams (0.14 ounces) if they’re medium-sized. It is also a great source of potassium and fiber.
- Brussels sprouts contain 4 grams (0.14 ounces) per cup. You can roast them and serve them with olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
- Artichokes contain 4.2 grams (0.148 ounces) per one medium artichoke.
- Asparagus contains 4.3 grams (0.15 ounces) per cup. Since it is naturally a little bit bitter, you can roast it in the oven to make a delicious meal.
- Sweet corn, when measured in one cup, has 4.7 grams (0.16 ounces). You can combine them with beans, add them to salads, stews, soups, and pasta.
- Spinach contains 5.3 grams (0.18 ounces) per single cup when boiled. They are also rich in iron, vitamins, and minerals, and are important for hair, skin, and bone health.
- Soybean sprouts have 9.2 grams (0.32 ounces) in one cup. They can be cooked as a side dish or in a clear soup, which is popular in Korea.
Bonus: powdered protein
When looking for powdered proteins, it is advisable that you get the kinds that have high-quality ingredients and very few additives, preservatives, or artificial flavors. It is also convenient to have them in your kitchen, as you can add them to smoothies, iced coffee, oatmeal, or pancake mix.
You can find protein powders that are made from:
Powdered proteins also come in different flavors, like strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, caffè mocha, cookies, peanut butter, and many others.