Pile on the Protein with These 10 Plant-Based Foods
Fats and carbohydrates have faced their fair share of scrutiny over the decades, but protein has managed to coast through years of fad diets and conflicting-nutritional recommendations unscathed.
Protein is essential for healthy body functions, responsible for growing and repairing muscle tissue, aiding in digestion and energy production, and helping bolster your immune system.
With a lengthy list of benefits, it’s no surprise that getting enough protein is a dietary priority. Thankfully, there’s an abundance of this crucial macronutrient in a variety of plant-based foods and ingredients.
This Monday, kick-start a healthy week with delicious high-protein, plant-based foods.
A handful of almonds is a satiating snack that will keep a grumbling tummy at bay, but the tree nut is also a good source of protein. A quarter cup of almonds contains 6 grams of protein and plenty of fiber. Eat them on their own or incorporate them into your own custom snack mix.
Easy to prepare, cheap to buy, versatile, and nutritionally dense, the black bean is the ultimate pantry staple for people looking to incorporate more plant-based protein into their diet. Cooked black beans contain 8 grams of protein per half cup. Purchase them canned, or, if ambitious, dried, and transform them into plant-based burgers, taco fillings, soups, or “meat” balls.
Cooked chickpeas are the main ingredient in hummus and boast nearly 15 grams of protein per cup. And remember, when using canned chickpeas, save the liquid — also known as aquafaba — for a terrific, plant-based egg white replacement.
Popular in Japan and other areas of East Asia, edamame is as close you can get to a perfect food: One cup of cooked edamame contains 8 grams of fiber, 17 grams of protein, and is only 189 calories.
One of the lesser known “ancient grains,” farro needs to be on your radar. A quarter cup of uncooked farro contains 6 grams of protein. Its toothsome texture adds a pleasant chew to grain bowls and salads.
These hefty beans are dense, nourishing, and nutrient-packed. One cup of cooked kidney beans contains roughly 13 grams of protein (as well as 13 grams of fiber).
With tons of fiber and almost no saturated fat, look to use lentils as the foundation of multiple meals throughout the week. A cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of protein and more than half your recommended daily value of fiber.
A staple of almost every pantry, the peanut (and peanut butter) is a tremendous source of plant-based protein and health fats. With nearly 10 grams of protein per quarter cup, the peanut is a great snack to take to the office or incorporated into this sweet and spicy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew.
The trendiest of grains (well, it’s technically a seed), quinoa is a splendid source of protein that can serve as the foundation of any meatless meal. A cup of cooked quinoa boasts around 8 grams of protein.
There are imitators and then there are originators. Tofu — made from soy beans — is sold in a variety of textures and forms, but no matter the type, you’re guaranteed to get a solid dose of plant-based protein, with a half-cup offering around 10 grams. Our recipe for Jamaican Jerk Tofu (the most popular recipe on our website) will make you a lifelong tofu loyalist.
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