PLANT BASED PROTEIN SOURCES

Plant-based diets may seem like the “new, cool thing”, but this is a trend that’s here to STAY! While switching to a more plant-rich diet is beneficial for the environment, the added plants also benefit your overall health. Increasing foods from plant-based sources, while swapping out processed food and decreasing animal-based products have been shown to decrease disease risk.  

The power of a plant based diet does not mean you must consume plants exclusively – It simply means most your overall diet is made up of plants and plant-based food sources!

The literature surrounding plant based diets support a decrease in cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity! As this style of eating is higher in fruits and vegetables, it is subsequently higher in vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants – the perfect cocktail of health! 

Critics of the plant-based diet often jump to conclusions about a lack of protein in the diet. And while many plant-based sources may lack all the essential amino acids, some sources are perfectly balanced with all 9. Additionally, some food combinations contain all essential amino acids, even if their individual constituents don’t – for example, peanut butter and toast, hummus and pita & rice and beans. 

Plant-based protein sources often have other nutrition benefits as well. For example, most sources are often high in fiber – a nutrients that many individuals lack in their diet. They are also high iron, folate, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins! 

So here are my top 10 favourite plant based protein sources. The bolded food items also contain all essential amino acids

 

  1. Nuts (including but butters)

  2. Seeds (chia in large quantities), pumpkin, hemp, flax)

  3. Quinoa

  4. Lentils

  5. Tofu 

  6. Edamame

  7. Tempeh

  8. Beans (black, lima, pinto, kidney, garbanzo)

  9. Green peas

  10. Nutritional Yeast 

 

If you’re looking for a plant-based meal that is packed with protein, try some chickpea pasta with green peas and vegetables with a cheese sauce made with nutritional yeast!

Bari Stricoff – Dietitian