We see a lot of plant-based clients or people who just want to swap some animal protein out for vegetarian options so we thought we'd make a helpful list of Plant Based Proteins that rock. Or just ones you could consider adding to your diet.
If you're vegan or vegetarian and exercise a lot, you'll need to ensure you're getting plenty of protein. But also for any connective tissue condition, and anxiety and depression - you'll feel better with the proteins as they are building blocks of your neurotransmitters.
Adding protein to your diet IS NOT about weight loss. We need protein for all functions of life, energy, tissue repair, brain health, and immune health.
All these a naturopath naturopath-approved.. but if you need more help, come and chat with us - we'll get your plate fueling your life in a way that will have you skipping down the street.
Pulses: Pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans, and kidney beans are excellent sources of protein. They can be used in soups, stews, salads, and more. They are excellent for your digestive health as well - so including them will help your overall health.
Tofu: Tofu is a versatile source of protein that can be used in a wide variety of dishes, from stir-fries to smoothies. Firm tofu is higher in protein compared to silken tofu. The issue many people have with tofu is that it doesn't taste like anything, so you really have to think of it as a vehicle for carrying flavour. You can pack it flavour - we go to NYTimes, 101 Cookbooks or ABC Everyday for inspro.
Tempeh: Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that is rich in protein and has a nutty flavour. It's great for grilling, sautéing, or crumbling into dishes. If you can find the fresh Indo variety you'll love it.
Seitan: Seitan, also known as wheat gluten or wheat meat, is a high-protein meat substitute. It can be used in a variety of savoury dishes, often with a meat-like texture. We love Suzy Spoons for Inner West locally made with less processing as a lot of the seitan you see can be really really processed which should be minimised.
Greek & Skyr Yogurt: Greek yogurt is higher in protein compared to regular yogurt and makes an excellent breakfast or snack option. You can also use it in smoothies and dressings, a dollop on the dal.
Eggs: Eggs are a complete protein source and can be prepared in many ways, such as boiled, scrambled, or in omelettes.
Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain that's a complete protein source, making it an excellent choice for vegetarian diets. It can be used as a base for salads, side dishes, or main courses. But lets be clear, it isn't a protein replacement - it has some protein, and a full amino acid spectrum BUT eating quinoa alone will not even you enough protein if you're only getting it from plant-based options. Its like a good addition.
Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, peanuts, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are all rich in protein. They can be eaten as snacks or added to smoothies, porridge, and baked goods. (I recommend Flax and walnuts for healthy omegas as well!)
Edamame: Edamame are young soybeans and a great plant-based protein source. They can be enjoyed as a snack or added to salads and stir-fries.
Paneer & Haloumi: Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese with a high protein content. It's commonly used in various Indian dishes and can be grilled or added to curries.
Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast is a vegan-friendly source of protein and has a cheesy flavour. It can be sprinkled on top of dishes or used to make dairy-free sauces.
Leafy Greens: While not as protein-dense as other options, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens still contain some protein and are nutritious additions to your meals.
Remember that a balanced vegetarian diet should include a variety of these protein sources along with a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats to ensure you get all the essential nutrients your body needs.