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The biggest question people have when they cut meat from their diet is “where do I get protein on a plant based diet?”
Our goal with this article is to give you a list of the best plant protein sources, nutritional information, and how to use each source in a variety of ways to your liking.
Plant based diets having been fueling athletes and bodybuilders for years but yet still many people believe that the only way to obtain protein is by eating meat.
Before we jump into the sources let’s clear up the most common misconceptions about a plant based diet.
Common misconceptions about plant based diets
It is a common misconception that the only place to obtain protein is by consuming meat and dairy.
The majority of us believe this because that is what we were told growing up.
- Eating meat is the only way to gain muscle
- Plants don’t have protein
- I cant get full off of eating plants
This can not be further from the truth!
Eating a whole foods plant based diet actually makes it much easier to lean out when you understand the proper sources of food you should be eating.
You can easily meet your daily requirements by consuming plant based foods.
People commonly associate a plant based diet with lack of nutrition. The only way you will have any lack of nutrition is if you are consistently consuming processed foods and limiting fresh vegetables and healthy whole grains from your diet.
A plant based diet can be personalized to your lifestyle just as any other diet can. The foods we are about to show you will surprise you at how easy it is to meet your daily nutritional requirements. Veganhealth.org goes over the specific requirements and exactly how to meet them while eating a plant based diet here.
Plants fill you up 75% more than meat
There have been multiple studies that have proven that plant based foods actually fill you up longer than when you consume meat based proteins. This is believed to be due to the higher fiber content in vegetables that is nonexistent in meat products. The fiber digests much slower, therefore keeps you full longer.
Benefits of a plant based diet:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Prevents cancer
- Reduces heart disease
- Prevents and reverses diabetes
For more information on this topic check out this article.
Why We’re Leaving Out Soy
We believe that although soy is a great source of protein, it should not be listed at one of the top sources for a plant based diet.
It is still processed and has been shown to interfere with estrogen production with over consumption of soy products. We also believe that diet in general should be based off of whole, natural foods, so that is what we are going to provide you with.
That being said, here are the top sources of protein for a plant based diet:
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have been around for centuries and is considered one of the top super foods. The benefits are endless, for energy boosts to weight loss, they are definitely a go to for a healthy diet. This amazing source of protein provides the necessary calories and carbs to get your day started on the right track.
Chia Seed Nutritional Facts (2 tablespoons):
- 6g protein
- 10g carbohydrates
- 10g fiber
- 0g net carbs
How To Use Chia Seeds:
- Soak 30 minutes in almond milk to create chia pudding
- Sprinkle on top of acai bowls
- Add to smoothies
- Create no bake chocolate coconut chia bars
Lentils are the go to source of protein for vegan body builders. They provide a large amount of protein in a small meal. The great thing about them is they can be used in a variety of dishes.
Lentils Nutritional Facts (1 cup cooked):
- 18g protein
- 112g carbohydrates
- 15g fiber
- 97g net carbs
How To Use Lentils:
- My favorite recipe is Red Lentil Curry
- Use them to make veggie burgers
- Cook them in spices and place them on top of your favorite salad
Hemp seeds not only contain a good source of protein but it is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The carbohydrate to protein ratio is one of the best compared to all the other protein sources on this list.
Hemp Seed Nutritional Facts ( 3 tablespoons):
- 10g protein
- 3g carbohydrates
- 3g fiber
- 0g net carbs
How To Use Hemp Seeds:
- Make homemade hemp seed milk
- Cook vegan whole grain apple hemp muffins
- Blend into smoothies
- Sprinkle on top of acai and salad
4. Black Beans
Black beans are a great protein source that go well with any food. The fiber content in beans is known for helping regulate your digestive system, and they are also extremely filling due to the amount of fiber they contain.
Black Beans Nutritional Facts(1 cup):
- 39g protein
- 116g carbohydrates
- 29g fiber
- 87g net carbs
How To Use Black Beans:
- Last week I made black bean tacos from Purple Carrot, so good!
- Rice and beans is a great side dish
- They can also be used to make home made veggie burgers
- Once cooked you can place them on top of salads
Nuts are a great go to protein source that can be snacked on anywhere you go. The different variety of nuts allow you to mix and match to keep things interesting. They also contain a healthy amount of fiber, omega 3’s, and unsaturated fats.
Nuts Nutritional Facts (1 cup):
- 27g protein
- 28g carbohydrates
- 9g fiber
- 21g net carbs
How To Use Nuts:
- Eating them as is and mixing a variety of nuts together.
- Sprinkle them on top of salads
- Make your own home made nut bars
6. Golden Flaxseed Meal
Golden flax seed meal is another great source of protein and omega 3’s that I love to use. It has been around since ancient times and was commonly prescribed by Hippocrates (the father of medicine), when patients had intestinal issues due to it’s high fiber content.
Golden Flaxseed Meal Nutritional Facts (2 tablespoons):
- 3g protein
- 4g carbohydrates
- 3g fiber
- 1g net carbs
How To Use Flaxseed Meal:
- Blend it with any green smoothie
- Make flaxseed meal pancakes
Spirulina is a deep blue green algae that may surprise you in its protein content. This powerhouse protein source has multiple vitamins such as B1, B2,B3, copper, iron, magnesium, and potassium to make it one of the most powerful super foods.
Spirulina Nutritional Facts (2 tablespoons):
- 8g protein
- 4g carbohydrates
- 0g fiber
- 4g net carbs
How To Use Spirulina:
- Another great add on for any smoothie or acai bowl.
- Make Spirulina energy balls
I have been buying my Spirulina from Amazon for awhile now and really like Sari Foods brand. It is organic and is the best tasting powder I have found so far. You can get it here.
Living off a plant-based diet without the proper information on where to get your protein can be difficult. This list is a strong foundation to get you on your way towards developing a plant-based diet.
Remember this information is not just for people that want to live off a plant-based diet but a list to inspire you to change up your protein sources.
My anatomy teacher once told me that eating whole food plants for one day has the power to save you thousands of dollars on your health in the future.
Plants are a lot more powerful than you think and I hope you give these plant-based proteins a try and let us know how it works out.
If you have any questions about any of these sources don’t hesitate to comment below. Take care!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclaimer for more info.
Victor is the co-founder of GroundedPanda.com. He began practicing yoga over 10 years ago and has since then engulfed himself into natural health including calisthenics, mindfulness & meditation techniques, and nutrition. Education is a passion of his and he loves helping beginners with their health journeys. When he’s not writing, you can find him running, working out in random places, and most likely talking to someone about intermittent fasting.