One of the most common questions posed when people are making the transition from a meat-diet to a fully plant based diet is “Where am I going to get my protein”? One of the easiest and most commonly known meat substitutes is tofu and other soy based consumables. But, with more and more soy allergies cropping up, and the increased risk of disease from the consumption of too many processed soy products, it’s important to know what other plant based foods can provide your body with the protein that it needs.
Quiona is what we call a “complete protein”, in that provides all of the essential amino acids in a proper balance for the human body. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. According to a source it is a starchy protein that is full of iron, magnesium, and fiber. It’s starchy consistency lends itself to being not only a great substitute for rice, but also a wonderful substitute in baked goods as well.
Chia seeds have some extraordinary properties. In addition to having a whopping 4 grams of protein in just 2 tablespoons of seeds, they are very high in soluble fiber. This means that when they soaked in water, the seeds turn into a gel substance. This gel substance is great to use a natural thickener, an egg substitute in baking, or pudding-like dessert when mixed into almond or soy milk.
This is obviously a very broad category, but that’s because most nuts are very high in protein. Some sources say that almonds and pistachios are the most beneficial, seeing as they have the highest amount of protein compared to saturated fat. On average, a quarter cup of nuts can contain between 7-9 grams of protein. Nuts in general are extraordinarily versatile, and can be added to almost any meal with little to no preparation.
Buckwheat, a relative of rhubarb, is most often ingested in the form of soba noodles. But the seeds can also be ground and turned into flour, and the kernels can be cooked to create an oatmeal-like breakfast food. Buckwheat is another source of complete protein, and 1 cup of cooked buckwheat produces a serving of 6 grams of protein. (Source)
Again, this is another broad category, because beans as an institution are a fantastic source of protein. Beans are a starchy protein that are also a great source of carbs and fiber, and provide a similar protein content to most meats: they average 15 grams of protein per cup of cooked beans. For that reason beans are usually the immediate answer to a new-plant based dieter’s protein needs.