As a plant based eater, I am often asked where I get my protein from. It comes out of concern I know, but you would not believe all of the ways we can consume protein. When I first started eating a plant based diet, I thought lettuce and raw veggies were going to be my everything. Well, as I have often said before, I started researching sources and individuals to follow, books to read and new foods to try. As a person who absolutely loves cooking, I had to learn how to get creative in the kitchen. Here are MY go-to sources of protein for plant based eating.
This has to be hands down my favorite and my easiest way to get protein. Hemp hearts look like a tiny granule that can be mixed, topped or tossed in to anything. Three tablespoons of hemp hearts provide 10 grams of protein!! This is huge! I sprinkle this stuff on everything!! You can mix it in a smoothie, in oatmeal, on top of your salad, pasta, pizza, scrambles with veggies. Literally, anywhere! They don’t have a taste so it’s easy to add.
Hemp hearts are rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, fiber, iron and zinc! They are also rich in Omega 3-essential fatty acids. A quick thought…replace the three tablespoons to any dish and that is equivalent to one hard boiled egg. How fabulous that you just took the cholesterol out of your meal!
How do I explain nutritional yeast? It’s this nutty, cheesy like flakes that add a creamy texture when added to food. This is my base for any vegan cheese dish to get the consistency of a cheesy goodness. It can literally be added to anything for flavor though. This is rich in Vitamin B12, which plant based eaters can sometimes be deficient in. A major source of our B-12 comes from animal protein. One tablespoon provides your daily allowance of B-12! Guys, I cake this stuff on my food! It is soooo good. One of my go-to snacks is to pop fresh popcorn, sprinkle Chalula on top and then add some nutritional yeast. OMG…you have to try it. DELICIOUS!
Nutritional yeast has nine grams of protein per serving (2 tablespoons) and four grams of fiber per serving. It is high in folic acid as well. So here is my comparison again…2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast equates to one cup of whole milk or one egg or an ounce of red meat. This is crazy right?? I promise it adds the yummiest flavor to my dishes.
Chickpeas are FULL of nutrients. They contain, just to name a few…vitamin K, folate, protein, fiber, vitamin B-6, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, zinc and high levels of iron. One cup of chickpeas contain over 14 grams of protein!!! I make this “no tuna salad” from chickpeas and you would love it! I add them to my “no Chicken soup” as my protein, or in my stews. You can bake them and they add the nicest crunch to any salad.
I have been researching these little wonders for awhile now. These are a wonderful heart healthy option to add to your diet. The nutrients from these seeds are incredible! Two tablespoons of these little suckers have 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber plus vitamins and minerals. Many have said that by eating two tablespoons a day of these, they have seen significant changes to their cholesterol. These are rich in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, so I have been downing these like candy! They are easy to sneak in to any food. My daughter thinks she doesn’t like them…I put them in everything! 😉
One of my favorite desserts that I make is 1/2 cup of Chia seeds with 1 cup of coconut milk. Stir those and add 1 tsp of vanilla bean, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (if needed) to the mixture and let it sit in the fridge over night. The next day, you can add fresh fruit, fruit puree, almond butter or granola to this and it is delicious! It can be a dessert, a snack or breakfast! Give it a try and let me know what you think. This is another link to various chia puddings.
So Many Healthy Options
There are other proteins that I eat often, like lentils, quinoa, nuts, beans and some non gmo tofu as well. But my go to everyday things are the ones I listed above. I truly hope that this was helpful and you can begin the transition of a meal or two or maybe everything to plant based eating!
The best part of these proteins? They are all gluten free!! Yes, I am gluten free too!! Can it get any harder to eat? HA! I’m kind of joking! I decided a long time ago that I would give up ANYTHING if it meant I did not have to pop a pill and feel sick all the time. This is an easy exchange for me. When I was little, meat always just grossed me out, so it was an easy give up for me. Gluten…well, we all know it’s the most delicious thing ever! 😉 I learned to navigate around it and create delicious foods without it.
My thoughts…do whatever makes you feel healthy and happy. I know it can be overwhelming, so I am hoping that by showing you how easy it is to swap something out, you can make a few transitions over to more plant based eating.
Thanks for reading along with me everything I find fabulous,
P.S. Make sure to subscribe to stay updated on my fabulous!