Top 5 Protein Sources
The foods proving that plants are packed with protein too
Protein is a vital part of our diet. It helps to repair cells, make new ones and is important for growth and development in children and pregnant women. It is madfe up from a chain of amino acids, and some foods have more amino acids than others. Many legumes, beans and some grains have the essential amino acids needed to maintain a good standard of health. The protein sources that we have chosen this month are staple items to stock your kitchen cupboards with, to help disprove the myth that you can’t get protein on a plant based diet.
At 11 grams of protein per cup, quinoa is a high protein alternative to pasta or rice. It can be used in a variety of recipes, including as a base for veggie burgers, served alongside a salad or can be served cold and used as a breakfast cereal with berries and your favourite plant based milk. Due to quinoa containing the nine essential amino acids, it is classed as a complete protein.
Lentils have 9 grams of protein per 100 grams and are available dried or pre-soaked in tins.
They are versatile and ideal to include in a Bolognese or curry to include a different texture. You can get three different types of lentils that each have different uses, for example, brown lentils are best used in soup due to their tendency to turn mushy when cooked.
Green lentils, which are best suited to being in salads with their crunchy texture. Red lentils, which are commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine are often used as thickeners in purees.
Tempeh is the fermented version of tofu and makes delicious vegan burgers, or as an addition to a simple rice dish with vegetables. It has 15 grams of protein per 84 grams. Tempeh is often considered a good non-dairy source of calcium too, due to its high calcium content. Tempeh also has a high content of probiotics due to the fermentation process, which is beneficial to the digestive system.
As seitan is made from wheat gluten, the main protein in wheat, seitan has 25 grams of protein per 100 grams. Seitan is a versatile meat alternative, which is ideal to use for vegan burgers or chicken-style nuggets. You can make it easily at home and freeze the seitan or simply purchase it from some health food shops. As with many plant based alternatives, it is cholesterol-free and has more protein than beef on a per-calorie basis.
15 grams of protein per cup, beans are a good protein source as well as being high in carbohydrates and fibre.
Beans have a low glycaemic index, meaning that they are also beneficial to people with diabetes and are digested slowly and help to keep blood sugar stable. Beans are an ideal cupboard staple with many different types of beans available in different sauces. You can’t beat a quick-and-easy beans on toast lunch!