Plant-Based Protein – A Nutritionist’s Guide on How to Make It
- Some people are confused about what plant-based protein is and how it differs from animal-based protein.
- In fact, some people think that it’s healthier or even preferable to avoid animal protein altogether, but this isn’t always the case.
- The most important thing to keep in mind when deciding whether to include plant-based protein in your diet is the quality of the plant-based protein you’re eating, so learn about the different types and their sources before deciding what kind works best for you and your diet goals.
Everything has protein, but not all of it is created equal. That’s because your body requires different amounts of certain amino acids—the building blocks of protein—to function properly.
Some foods contain a higher ratio of those essential amino acids than others, which means they provide your body with more usable protein per serving.
When you eat foods that have high levels of essential amino acids, you naturally feel fuller for longer and experience less cravings throughout the day.
Oats are one of my favorite grains to use as a ‘base’ for plant based protein because they work well in cold, warm and hot applications, says Leslie.
They’re also low in calories, very low in fat, high in fiber and contain a variety of nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals including zinc and magnesium.
Oats can be used in everything from breakfast porridge to main dishes like veggie burgers. Get more health benefits from oats with our tasty recipe for Chocolate Banana Oat Shake.
Gluten free and packed with fiber, quinoa is one of my go-to protein sources. With 9 grams of protein per cooked cup, it’s a great vegetarian option for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
I typically eat it in pilaf form; it’s incredibly easy to make and stores well for a few days in the fridge.Quinoa has been around for thousands of years; in fact, Incas called it the mother grain due to its ability to grow high up in mountainous terrain.
Its nutty flavor and creamy texture make it a wonderful complement any meal you may have planned throughout your day (or night). Enjoy!If you’re looking for a more savory alternative to quinoa, rice might be right up your alley.
Since white rice doesn’t contain gluten, it offers some versatility in terms of recipes and preparation styles. The downside? Just like brown rice, white rice isn’t as nutrient dense as many other protein choices out there.
You can still enjoy white rice by eating it with other ingredients that offer greater nutritional value; for example, pairing brown basmati rice with lean chicken breast will yield at least 8 grams of protein per serving – certainly enough to keep hunger at bay throughout much of your day.
When it comes to protein, few plants can match hemp. One ounce of shelled hemp seeds contains 15 grams of protein, along with a number of minerals, including magnesium and zinc.
Hemp seeds are also one of nature’s richest sources of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid shown to reduce inflammation. They’re also high in dietary fiber and contain no cholesterol or saturated fat.
And while they don’t taste like much on their own, you can use them as a topping for salads and yogurt or mix them into smoothies for added texture. The best part?
You can buy them online at Amazon or your local health food store. If you have trouble finding them locally, try these brands: Nutiva Organic Hempseed Oils , Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts , Living Harvest Shelled Hemp Seeds.
Just be sure to check ingredients lists; some products may add flavorings and sweeteners that aren’t ideal for those following a plant-based diet.
These seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients, but they don’t contain protein. However, you can use chia seeds as an egg replacement in recipes; just mix two tablespoons of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and allow it to gel for 10 minutes before using.
If you’re looking for something more substantial, try mixing one cup of cooked quinoa with two cups of chia seed pudding. The combination will give you 14 grams of protein (not bad for dessert).
Another option is adding ground flaxseed to your cereal or yogurt instead of milk—one tablespoon contains 4 grams of protein.
This alternative to traditional rice is a great source of plant-based protein and low in calories, which makes it ideal for weight loss.
Cook a batch for dinner tonight (it’s just as easy as cooking rice), and you can use it in place of white rice throughout your week.
Using cauliflower instead of rice keeps you fuller, longer, with less calorie consumption, Cederquist says. It’s a simple way to cut calories and lose weight without feeling deprived. Try it with these easy recipes!
Although a cup of cooked brown rice contains 212 calories, 48 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber, a cup of cooked cauliflower contains only 28 calories, 5 grams carbs and 2 grams fiber — significantly fewer than brown rice.
When you substitute cauliflower for rice at meals such as stir fries or curries, you can slash about 120 calories per serving.
The same amount of boiled quinoa has about 116 fewer calories than an equal amount of white rice — though not quite as many nutrients.
Although both contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, quinoa contains more protein than brown or white rice (8 g vs.
Why are they Good? When blended together, fruits and vegetables lose their firm texture and become a thick, green drink.
This consistency is what gives smoothies their name.The way your body digests these drinks is also different from how it processes whole fruits and vegetables.
Your stomach doesn’t have to work hard to break down green smoothies, so you get extra nutrients and antioxidants in an easy-to-digest package. Plus, because smoothies are cold and thick, they’re satisfying without being too filling.
If you want to add protein powder or milk to make them more filling or nutritious, that’s fine—just be sure not to go overboard with ingredients that will water down your drink.
For example, adding bananas or ice cream can make a green smoothie taste good but also increase its calorie count by hundreds of calories per serving!
To keep things healthy while still getting all of the benefits of a plant-based protein shake, use only about one cup of fruit for every two cups of leafy greens like spinach or kale.