Getting enough protein isn't always easy. Whether you consume meat or not, it can be tricky to make sure you're not only getting protein, but that you're getting enough of it, and that it's coming from an-all around healthy source. When we add discussions of sustainable food into the mix, things can feel a little overwhelming. But worry not! Getting sustainable, good-for-you protein is actually really easy, especially if you're open to trying it from plant-based sources.
Now, some people eat plant-based protein sources all of the time, often because they're vegetarian, vegan, or have certain allergies. But even if you enjoy meat or dairy, you can absolutely still take advantage of these high-protein plant-based foods. Adding plant-based protein sources into your diet diversifies your meals, encourages you to try new recipes, and helps ensure you're getting the range of vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body healthy.
Feeling lost on where to start? No worries, the following seven plant-based sources are easily accessible sources of protein that are friendly to new-to-them cooks. Plus, you're bound to find them at your local grocery store or farmer's market!
Chickpeas, which are also known as garbanzo beans, are an excellent source of protein. According to Livestrong, one cup of chickpeas provides about 12 grams of fiber, which is roughly 24% of the daily value your body needs, according to 2,000-calorie diet. Chickpeas are easy additions to salads, wraps, or sandwiches, and they're also easy to use as a base for other meals. For example, if you have a can of chickpeas and a seasoning of your choice, such as garlic, paprika, or olives, it's easy to make your own hummus at home. Chickpeas can also be used as a vegan alternative for omelets or morning scrambles!
According to Women's Health, broccoli is a fantastic source of protein at two grams per half cup. Broccoli is an easy vegetable to prepare, even when you're in a time-crunch. You can roast it in the oven, sauté it on the stove, steam it, or even eat it raw. Broccoli is also a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
According to Whole Foods Market, lentils contain roughly 36% of your daily protein needs. Lentils are also an excellent source of fiber. Lentils can be served hot or cold, in wraps, soups, sandwiches, or as a meat substitute in pasta sauces. They can also be used in dips!
According to Women's Health, just half a cup of spinach gives you three grams of protein. At first, this doesn't seem like a huge amount, but think about how light and easy to eat spinach is. You can easily eat a few cups of at a time in wraps, salads, or as a sautéed side to the rest of your meal. You can also add spinach to juices or smoothies as a secondary protein source.
Never heard of tempeh? No worries, it's actually delicious. And according to PopSugar, it contains a whopping 16 grams of protein per serving. Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, which doesn't sound appetizing, but is actually really versatile. It can be fried, baked, grilled, or breaded, and has an earthy, meaty texture and taste. It's often a substitute for bacon!
6. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts tend to get a bad reputation, but they're actually a really versatile and nutrient-filled vegetable. According to Livestrong, just a half a cup of these guys gives you two grams of protein! You can bake, sauté, steam, or shred them, and they're great in salads, Buddha bowls, or as a simple side dish.
That's right: Your beloved avocado toast is actually a pretty good source of protein. We often talk about avocados because they're a fantastic source of fat, but they're also a legitimate source of protein. According to the Huffington Post, one avocado contains about four grams of protein. As we all know, avocados are easy to add into meals, whether it's guacamole, a smoothie, toast, or let's be honest, just a snack on its own with a bit of lemon juice and sea salt.
More from Green Matters