Protein is one of the most important nutrients for a healthy weight loss diet. Not only will it provide your body with the amino acids needed to build new muscle tissue, but it will keep your metabolism firing for much longer, thus burning more calories in the day. For those who want to eat more protein but don’t like all the fat you get from animal proteins (beef, pork, chicken, etc.), the good news is that there are plant-based options to try out. Here are some of the best plant-based protein sources for you to add to your diet:
All legumes are wonderful for your health, but lentils have earned their place as one of the best of the best. Not only are they packed with protein, but they’re also an amazing source of dietary fiber, nutrients, and minerals. Best of all, they lack the gassiness of beans, so you can eat them without worrying about bloating or flatulence.
Aside from the fact that they make you a bit gassy (if not cooked properly), beans are, by far, one of the best plant-based protein sources around. Many of the more colorful beans (like black and red beans) are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which will boost your immunity and improve your overall health. They’re also packed with amino acids. Pair them with brown rice, and you have all the amino acids needed to make complete proteins.
Spirulina is a form of algae that has become highly popular as a superfood. Not only is it an amazing source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but it’s loaded with antioxidants and amino acids. Spirulina is about 70% protein, making it one of the best plant-based sources of protein around. It’s definitely a health food supplement to consider adding to your diet!
Tofu is an unusual food, one that you’ll either love or hate. It’s made from soy beans, so it contains all the plant-based protein in the beans. There are also antioxidants and other natural compounds in tofu that make it a healthy choice (though there are a few concerns about soy-based products). Tofu is wonderfully low in calories and rich in nutrients.
Most people think of nori as only being the stuff wrapped around the outside of a sushi roll. However, the truth is that it’s so much more! 100 grams of nori is packed with as much as 50 grams of protein, thanks to the high amino acid content of the seaweed from which the nori is derived. You get a hefty dose of vitamins and minerals, but with far fewer calories than you’d expect. Start eating more dried seaweed to add more healthy protein to your diet.
Nuts are packed with amino acids, but they’re also a great source of minerals, unsaturated fatty acids, and even antioxidants. Despite the high fat content, nuts are also an excellent source of protein. Eating a handful is more than enough to suppress your appetite between meals without adding too many calories to your diet. Definitely one of the best plant-based protein sources to consider eating.
As unusual as this food may sound, it’s amazing for your health! It’s the world’s smallest flowering plant, but it has a protein content of 45%. It’s mostly consumed by fish and birds, but people in Southeast Asia have taken to eating plant like any other type of greens. You may not be able to find it easily within the United States, but if you’re looking for a good vegetarian protein while traveling Southeast Asia, you should definitely consider duckweed.