What are the best sources of plant protein? The truth is that protein is in almost every kind of plant food. So based on this fact, if you just ate enough calories in plant foods it would be easy for most to get the RDA of protein needed for a healthy body.
But what if you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle or fuel performance in sport? Well, believe it or not, plant based protein supplies could be key for your success.
How much protein should I be consuming per day?
There are lots of factors that can affect how much you need, but the average person, a recommended 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight is more than enough. This me put this into perspective for you; a person who weighs 70 kg should be looking to consume around 140g of protein a day.
Struggling to get this much in? See below for some yummy meals that will help you consume your protein goal for the day. But first, a little bit of science behind the gains.
Things to consider
- Amino acid profiles – you may have heard that plant proteins are not complete sources of essential amino acids. Now whilst this is not strictly true, some foods have lower levels of certain amino acids than others. Luckily almost all traditional combinations of foods tend to have a balanced amino acid profile when eaten together, such as beans on toast or rice and peas. In fact, basically any grain and legume combo for that matter. Other foods have a complete profile all by themselves such as soy foods, quinoa and hempseeds.
- Plants tend to be more of a total macro package than isolated sources – There are some protein dominant sources but most are more carb dominant or fat dominant and if your trying to keep you calories low its worth eating the highest protein options of each type of food to make it fit your macronutrient goals. So, swapping to grains and legumes instead of choosing potatoes and sugary foods when picking carbs is a great alternative. Another example of intelligent eating would be picking a sensible amount of nuts and seeds instead of avocados and oils.
- Low calorie boosts– things like green leafy veggies and mushrooms are very low calorie but when added to meals in a decent amount can bump up the protein by 5-10gr depending on how much you put in. Don’t ignore these when tracking protein as they can add up throughout the day.
Protein dominant sources ( Traditional soy foods ( Tofu, Tempeh and Miso) /Seitan (wheat protein)/ legume pastas
- Tofu contains about 25gr of protein per half block- this type of food is ideal use in curries or stir fry and can also be scrambled like eggs.
- Bean spaghetti or pasta contains about 45gr of protein per half pack- a great low carb, high protein alternative to your average supermarket pasta.
- Seitan contains 37.5gr of protein per 50gr- this little gem is a delicious alternative to steak, made up of dried out wheat germ.
The English Breakfast
Carb dominant sources top picks ( legumes/ grains)
- Baked beans are worth about 20gr per tin which is a great way to get in some protein in the morning.
- Red lentils 18gr per cup, the ideal replacement for beef in chilli or Spag bol
- Quinoa contains 8gr per cup, a much lower carb grain with a complete amino acid profile.
Chickpeas and quinoa
Fat dominant sources top picks ( Nuts/ Seeds)
- Almonds have 6 grams of protein per ounce, meaning it’s a great little snack to boost protein
- Pumpkin seeds contain 8 grams of protein per ounce. Why not throw in with a salad or in your porridge?
- Hemp seeds 10 gr per oz, the ideal finish to a shake
Lentil and Black bean spaghetti bolognaise
If you have higher protein goals or want to reduce your calories just reduce your carb dominant foods and have bigger servings of protein dominant ones or swap some carbs for some of the “cheat” almost pure protein sources below.
So easy its cheating!
Vegan protein shakes contain 25gr per shake.
Mock meats eg. Linda McCartney pulled chicken 18gr of protein per ¼ pack.
Vegan Quorn meat pieces have 16gr of protein per 100gr.
Soy milk has 3 grams of protein per 100ml and is low in calories as well!
If you would like any further information on plant based protein sources, then please do not hesitate to come and find me in the gym.
Personal Trainer Sevenoaks,
The Better Body Group