By Kristin Neusel, MS, RD, LD, CDCES
We have begun to switch from meat-based to plant-based foods, and as a result “plant-based proteins” are piquing the interest of people everywhere.
Everyone has different reasons for focusing on plant-based proteins.
- For some, it’s because they believe by eating plant-based proteins—rather than meat—it will help the environment.
- For others, they are vegan and must turn to plants to obtain the protein their body needs
- Perhaps others want to improve their cholesterol so they are switching to more of a plant-based diet
What are plant-based diets?
In general, plant-based diets are usually:
- High in fiber
- High in vitamins
- High in minerals
This can help lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol (LDL), reduce the risk of diabetes and help maintain a healthy weight (1).
I'm not saying that you have to completely cut out meat products to achieve these health benefits. I'm also not saying that all plant-based products are “healthy" (take a look at white bread which is plant-based, but also highly processed).
To see if a plant-based diet is right for you, always speak with your healthcare provider.
Good sources of plant-based proteins
- Tofu: 20 grams of protein/1 cup
- Lentils: 18 grams of protein/1 cup- easily add these to soups or casseroles for added protein AND fiber
- Edamame: 15 grams of protein in half a cup- a great side, or snack when these are dried
- Chickpeas (canned): 10 grams of protein/1 cup- air fry these and toss in a salad or pack as a snack
- Almonds: 10 grams of protein/ ½ cup
- Quinoa: 8 grams of protein/1cup- swap out your rice for quinoa, or try finding a good quinoa burger recipe
- Rolled oats: 7 grams of protein/ ½ cup- toss these on your morning yogurt
- Hemp seeds: 6.5 grams of protein/2 tablespoons- toss in a salad or bowl for lunch
- Powdered peanut butter: 5 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons- powdered peanut butters have way less fat, but still a good amount of protein!
- Chia seeds: 4.5 grams of protein/ 1 oz- you can add these to tons of recipes without really impacting flavor but adding protein
- Sprouted bread: 4 grams of protein in 1 slice- make a sandwich and you’re adding 8 grams of protein easily
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Interested in submitting a question to Kristin? Email it to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post!