11 Plant-Based Proteins to Power Up Your Meals
by Becky Streeter
If you’re interested in switching to a more plant-based diet, but concerned about getting enough protein, try adding or substituting any of the following items instead of meat or poultry.
Lentils (16g protein per cup) - 1 cup contains 10 grams dietary fiber, as well as folate, iron, potassium and antioxidants. Lentils help aid weight loss goals and support digestion. Try it in your tacos instead of beef, add a handful to your soups or cold pasta salads, or as a substitute for rice in stir fry.
Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans (15g protein per cup) - Also high in fiber and full of amino acids, these beans help aid digestion and level out blood sugar after eating. Try hummus and veggies for your afternoon snack, toss some in your vegetable soup, roast in cinnamon and sugar and eat on their own, or bake into cookies.
Black Beans (16g protein per cup) - Packed with resistant starch and soluble fiber that together help improve fullness and support digestion. Also a good source of magnesium, potassium, calcium and folate. Add them to your tacos, make bean burgers instead of beef burgers, or make a black bean soup.
Tempeh (13g protein per 100g) - Literally fermented soybeans, tempeh is rich in fiber, potassium and iron and enhances gut microbe diversity. It absorbs the flavor of marinades well, making it an excellent addition to tacos, stir fries and kebabs.
Quinoa (8g protein per cup) - This complete protein contains all nine amino acids and is full of fiber, antioxidants, magnesium and iron. Substitute it for rice, sprinkle on salads, add to your morning eggs or omelet, or toss in soups.
Oats (6g protein per cup) - Contains a soluble fiber called beta-glucan that helps lower LDL cholesterol and blood sugar, promotes fullness, and increases the growth of good bacteria in your gut. You can eat them for breakfast or a snack, mix into smoothies, drink as your milk alternative, or use as a flour substitute in baking.
Leafy Greens (2-3g protein per cup) - Broccoli, spinach, kale, brussel sprouts and mushrooms–all lighter fare and rich in nutrients and minerals. Add as a side on your plate or a separate salad, mix into smoothies, or bake in your airfryer.
Almonds (6g protein per ounce) - Use as your milk and butter alternatives, grab a handful for a snack, add to your oatmeal, or for your flour substitute when baking. Almonds are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats.
Pistachios (6g protein per ounce) - An abundance of fiber, antioxidants and carotenoids, this little snack helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Blend into pesto or dips, crush and add to salads, or get the ones with shells to lengthen snack time.
Hemp Seeds (10g protein per cup) - Hide in foods such as smoothies, dips and sauces, or salads. They also contain magnesium, and both soluble and insoluble fiber to help with gut health.
Chia Seeds (5g protein per ounce) - Another good one for sneaking into smoothies or your morning oatmeal. Chia seeds help support weight loss and hydration because they can expand up to 10 times their size when soaked in liquid. Also a good source of fiber and omega-3s.
Source: Parsons, Lexi. “11 Delicious Sources of Plant-Based Protein to Add to Your Diet.” FitOn. 2023. https://fitonapp.com/nutrition/healthy-sources-of-plant-based-protein