Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants.
Stemming from a desire to live a healthier holistic lifestyle, contribute to environmental sustainability, or both, plant-based diets have more than earned their merit. Studies show that diets filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds lower the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and other health-related issues due to a rich amount of vitamins and minerals, including fiber, magnesium, and vitamin C.
This holistic lifestyle approach is to proportionately choose more of your foods from plant sources and doesn’t mean that you become vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy.
Healthful, Plant Based Protein Rich Food
The following healthful, plant–based foods have a high-protein content and can be good choices to plan your meals.
Some plant products, such as soy beans and quinoa, are complete proteins, which means that they contain all nine essential amino acids that humans need. Others are missing some of these amino acids, so eating a varied diet is important.
Red or green lentils contain plenty of protein, fiber, and key nutrients, including iron and potassium. Lentils are a great source of protein to add to a lunch or dinner routine. They can be added to stews, curries, salads, or rice to give an extra portion of protein.
Cooked chickpeas are high in protein. You can eat Chickpeas salad. A person can add hummus, which is made from chickpea paste, to a sandwich for a healthful, protein-rich alternative to butter.
Peanuts are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 8 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack.
Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes.
Spirulina is blue or green algae that contain around 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. It is also rich in nutrients, such as iron, B vitamins — although not vitamin B-12 — and manganese.
Spirulina is available online, as a powder or a supplement. It can be added to water, smoothies, or fruit juice. A person can also sprinkle it over salad or snacks to increase their protein content.
Quinoa is a grain with a high-protein content, and is a complete protein. This grain is also rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese. It is also highly versatile.
Quinoa can fill in for pasta in soups and stews. It can be sprinkled on a salad or eaten as the main course.
Seeds are low-calorie foods that are rich in fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a complete source of protein that contain 2 g of protein per tablespoon.
Try adding chia seeds to a smoothie, sprinkling them on top of a plant-based yogurt, or soaking them in water or almond milk to make a pudding.
Chia seeds are available from some supermarkets, health food stores, or to buy online.
Beans with rice
Separately, rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. Eaten together, this classic meal can provide 7 g of protein per cup.
Try rice and beans as a side dish, or mix rice, beans, and hummus together, for protein-packed meal.
A large baked potato offers 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are also high in other nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C.
Add 2 tablespoons of hummus for a flavorful snack that is healthier than butter-covered potatoes and increases the protein content. Two tablespoons of hummus contain about 3 g of protein.
Many dark-colored, leafy greens and vegetables contain protein. Eaten alone, these foods are not enough to meet daily protein requirements, but a few vegetable snacks can increase protein intake, particularly when combined with other protein-rich foods. Try a salad made from baby greens with some quinoa sprinkled on top for a protein-rich meal.
Adding fresh fruits and vegetables is a no-brainer for adopting a plant–based diet, but don’t neglect nuts, seeds, oils and legumes. Nuts and seeds provide healthy mono- and polyunsaturated plant oils as well as protein. Legumes, which include beans, are filling and also contain lean protein.
List of Nuts and Seeds to Include in Your Diet
- Pine nuts.
- Hemp Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Olive Oil
Health Benefits of Adopting Plant Based Diet
A plant based diet also focuses on healthful whole foods, rather than processed foods.
Following a plant based diet offers many possible health benefits, including:
- Better weight management
- Lower risk of heart disease and other conditions
- Diabetes prevention and treatment
Foods to avoid
It is vital to reduce or avoid unhealthful foods, such as:
- processed foods
- sugary foods, such as cakes, biscuits, and pastries
- refined white carbohydrates
- processed vegan and vegetarian alternatives that may contain a lot of salt or sugar
- excess salt
- fatty, greasy, or deep fried foods