As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be sharing a few great plant-based proteins you should consider adding to your diet.
A common argument against a vegetarian or vegan diet is the lack of “hearty” food options you’re left with when you take meat out of the equation. A diet lacking in protein can’t possibly be healthy, and meat is clearly the best source of protein available… isn’t it?
Actually, it’s not. While meat and other animal products do have a lot of protein, they’re not the only sources. And contrary to popular belief, they’re not the best sources, either. There a few plant-based options that pack more protein than even red meat, and they’re healthier for you in the long run.
Here are ten great plant-based protein options you should consider picking up the next time you head to the grocery store:
- Lentils – Also a great source of carbohydrates and fiber, this starchy option offers 18g of protein per 1 cup of cooked lentils. They’re a great substitute for ground beef or turkey in dishes like tacos, burgers, or meatballs, and taste great on their own with a little seasoning.
- Edamame – An increasingly popular type of soybean, edamame also offers up 18g of protein per 1 cup of cooked beans. They make a great addition to a stir-fry or rice bowl.
- Tempeh – Similar to tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans. In this case, fermented soybeans that have been formed into a dense and chewy cake with a great nutty flavor. Tempeh can be sliced and pan fried or used as a meat substitute in a variety of dishes. It offers 16g of protein per 3oz serving.
- Quinoa – Since it’s technically a seed, quinoa is a gluten-free grain. Offering between 7g and 9g of protein per 1/2 cup cooked serving, quinoa makes a great alternative base for a rice bowl, and can also be eaten as a hot or cold cereal with the addition of a little almond milk and fresh fruit.
- Black Beans – Each 1/2 cup serving of cooked beans offers 7.6g of protein, and has a ton of fiber and potassium. Black beans are great as a substitute for ground beef in dishes like chili and tacos, and if you’re feeling adventurous they can even be used to make some pretty tasty brownies!
- Peanut Butter – Aside from tofu, this is probably the most universally-known meatless protein source. Peanuts in any form offer plenty of protein and can be used in an endless amount of dishes. Peanut butter provides 7g of protein per 1/4 cup serving and can be used as everything from a sandwich spread to the base of a tasty Thai-inspired sauce.
- Wild Rice – This protein-rich grain is perfect for everything from soups to casseroles. Its nutty flavor can add a little something extra to an otherwise plain dish and offers 6.5g of protein per 1 cup cooked serving.
- Potatoes – This veggie has a reputation as being less than nutritious, but it actually offers 4g of protein in a single medium-sized white potato. A baked potato topped with a healthy ingredient like goat cheese and served alongside a veggie-packed salad makes for a great dinner.
- Avocado – Good for so much more than guacamole, this creamy fruit is a perfect topping for salads, tacos, grain bowls, and even toast. They can be added as a green component to smoothies, or pureed with a little melted dark chocolate and honey to make a silky desert. 1/2 of an avocado offers 2g of protein.
- Brussels Sprouts – These little green guys are rarely anyone’s favorite food, but when they’re cooked up just right they’re actually Offering 2g of protein per 1/2 serving, brussels sprouts can be chopped up and added to a salad, or sliced and pan fried till crispy with a little garlic.
There is so much more available to you than just tofu, and endless ways to get creative with any one of these meatless alternatives. Plant-based proteins are as tasty as they are healthy, and when you find the perfect way to use them, you’ll find you won’t even miss plain old chicken or ground beef.