Plant food provides much more protein than you may have thought.
When it comes to getting enough protein, there’s an abundance of plant foods that deliver a good protein punch.
Protein is important for growth, tissue repair, and recovery from exercise. It’s made up of small parts called amino acids. Nature has provided 20 amino acids that we need for good health, which are known as “essential” amino acids. Our bodies can make 11 of these, and the other nine have to come from our food. If you eat a wide variety of food you’ll be sure to get the protein you need. The average man and woman needs about 2 ounces (64 grams) or 1.5 ounces (46 grams) of protein per day, but most people exceed this daily requirement. Here are three surprising sources of protein:
A 30-gram handful provides 6 grams of protein. These tasty little morsels are the perfect package, providing the awesome combination of protein, iron, and zinc—important nutrients for those who are on a vegetarian diet. Pistachios and almonds have the most protein of all nuts, with just one handful containing 6 grams.
A 150-gram cupful cooked provides 20.2 grams of protein. Soy beans knock it out of the park when it comes to protein. They contain all nine essential amino acids, and the amount of protein they provide per serving is almost as much as that in meat. What’s even better, you’ll gain the benefits no matter whether you eat soy beans in their pod or in other foods made from soy beans such as tofu, tempeh, and many meat alternatives. (170 grams of tofu provide 20.4 grams of protein, and 100 grams of tempeh provide 23.2 grams of protein.)
3. CHIA SEEDS
Two tablespoons provide 6 grams of protein. These tiny seeds have a long list of nutrition credentials, including an unusually high amount of omega 3 (an essential fatty acid for brain function and heart health), plenty of calcium, loads of fiber, and a generous protein load. They’re also incredibly versatile, which is why they are added to many recipes and packaged products. Try sprinkling chia seeds on salads or cereal, add to smoothies, or even soak them overnight, ready to start the day with a chia pudding. Now that’s a super food!
Handy Hidden Protein
Two wheat crackers contain 3.63 grams of protein. Aiming for 20 grams of protein at breakfast may help regulate your appetite and keep you full longer.
One medium potato contains 4 grams of protein. The humble spud shouldn’t be dismissed. Try baking them whole for extra fiber and B-group vitamins.
Half a cup cooked provides 4.7 grams of protein. This ancient pseudo-grain (it’s actually a seed) is gluten-free and contains all the essential amino acids—and it’s great cooked into porridge.
Article courtesy of Sanitarium Health & Wellbeing. Visit sanitarium.com.au and subscribe to Wholicious Living for more great health and nutrition info each month.