Top 10 Protein Rich Foods from Plant Sources

The trend of physical activity and fitness has boomed with the massive impact COVID-19 pandemic has on our daily lives. More individuals seek to improve their health and look towards exercise. One thing to consider is high protein with right movement.

Protein is an essential nutrient not limited to only athletes or bodybuilders. This macronutrient plays a vital role in each of our daily lives. It participates in metabolic reactions, immune response, and provides a source of energy while repairing and maintaining the body’s structure.

Top 10 Protein Rich Foods from Plant Sources

Often, animal food sources like poultry, fish or meats come to mind when we think of protein-rich foods. According to Dr. Jan Dipasupil, plant-based foods can be great sources of protein and often have fewer calories compared to animal products.

A number of plant-based sources are complete proteins, containing all nine essential amino acids that we need to function. Registered Nutritionist and Dietitian, Krisha Kawig, states that eating a varied diet is important as other plant-based foods are lacking some of these amino acids. Here is a curated list of high-protein sources for those who prefer plant-based foods or for anyone looking to add more variety to their diet!

1. Broccoli

(1 serving = ½ cup; 1- 3 grams Protein per serving; *Target 4-5 cups per day of vegetable)

Containing protein with all the essential amino acids, broccoli is a very popular vegetable that can be enjoyed either raw or cooked. It is also a very rich source of vitamins C and K, a good source of folate, and a decent source of phosphorus, potassium and calcium.

2. Spinach

(1 serving = ½ cup; 1- 3 grams Protein per serving; *Target 4-5 cups per day of vegetable)

Another vegetable which contains all essential amino acids is spinach. Being a rich source of folate, vitamin A, and vitamin C, spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy green vegetables you can include in your diet. It is a good source of magnesium, iron, and potassium, and a decent source of calcium.

3. Bokchoy

(1 serving = ½ cup; 1- 3 grams Protein per serving; *Target 4-5 cups per day of vegetable)

Bok choy, otherwise referred to as Chinese cabbage or napa cabbage, also has a high protein content per calorie. Chinese cabbage is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and K. It is a good source of folate, calcium and potassium.

4. Tofu

(1 serving = 100g / ½ cup / 8.5x3.5x3cm)

Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein as it provides your body all the essential amino acids it needs. Tofu can be a versatile addition to a meal as it easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it’s prepared with. It is also a great meat substitute.

5. Tempeh

(1 serving = 100g / ½ cup; 8 grams Protein per serving)

Tempeh is another fermented soy product that boasts an impressive nutrient profile. It’s a popular meat replacement high in protein, vitamins and minerals but low in sodium and carbs. Tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans, then pressing them into a block.

6. White Beans

(½ cup cooked; 8 grams Protein per serving)

White beans are a nutritional powerhouse that is a great addition to your diet. They’re packed with fiber and protein and are a good source of numerous micronutrients, including folate, magnesium, and vitamin B6.

7. Kidney Beans

(½ cup cooked; 8 grams Protein per serving)

Kidney beans are mainly composed of carbs and fiber but also serve as a good source of protein. Allowing these beans to soak overnight removes the toxic and harmful protein in the raw bean. It is a must to cook thoroughly before eating.

8. Lentils

(½ cup cooked; 8 grams Protein per serving)

Lentils are edible seeds from the legume family. They can be used in different dishes and are perfect for adding variety to a plain diet.

9. Peanuts

(20 grams/ 2 Tbsp; 8 grams Protein per serving)

Peanuts are rich in protein, fat, and various healthy nutrients. Peanuts are very filling and can be considered an effective component of a weight loss diet. Studies have also found that a healthy consumption of peanuts is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

10. Potatoes

(10g / 1 ¼ cup, cubed / 6x8cm; 2-3 grams Protein per serving)

Although potatoes are commonly known for its reputation as a starchy carb source, it is another plant-based food containing protein. Cooked unpeeled potatoes are also good sources of potassium and Vitamin C.

Animal or Plant-based?

When deciding between plant and animal sources of protein, factoring the other nutrients the foods provide is imperative. Foods rich in protein can have widely ranging nutritional profiles. Generally, eating a wide variety of foods is the most optimal route to covering your dietary needs.

It is important to note however the numerous benefits a plant-based diet can have on a person’s health. Decreasing the risk of chronic illness, lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, improved immunity and weight loss are but a few of these benefits one can observe from consuming more plant-based foods. Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, a plant-based diet is not as repetitive and boring. There are tons of satisfying options to choose from!