Every once and a while I read a new article about the harm too much soy, especially processed soy, can have on your body. I have heard you can suffer anya number of ailments, anything from too much estrogen to cancer, and while I do think that a lot of these stories are just hype around a new trend in health news, I am a believer in moderation. I do, and I’m sure a lot of you as well, consume a large amount protein from soy. So in an effort to diversify my diet I went and looked up alternative sources of vegan protein and made some surprising discoveries! I am so excited by my findings, that I felt I had to share and so I made this informative list for your convenience— Please enjoy and share!
1. Green Veggies: Surprise! That’s right, in addition to vitamin C and fiber, good old greens pack a decent protein punch. One cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein. The same serving of French beans has an impressive 13 grams. And two cups of cooked spinach, broccoli, or kale have five grams! Pretty awesome, huh?
2. Hemp: Okay, so even though I am not talking about that kind of hemp, it’s still great to know that tossing 30 grams of hemp powder into your smoothie and provide about 11 grams of protein.
3. Nuts and Nut Butter: While nuts are high enough in fat to keep you from relying on them as a main source of protein, knowing that a quarter cup of most nuts provides about eight grams of protein for less than two hundred calories makes you feel pretty good about snacking on them. Besides the fat from nuts is good for you, in moderation. Nut butters also supply you without about eight grams of protein in two tablespoons. So spread some on fresh toasty bread or spoon in a smoothie.
4. Dried Spirulina: The ocean supplies us with protein in more ways than one. In addition to fish, plant sources of protein from the ocean include seaweeds, the best of which is dried spirulina. Just two tablespoons of dried spirulina contain about eight grams of protein for just 40 calories. I put spirulina in my salads and use it as a seasoning for bread, marinades, and veggies.
5. Quinoa: This ancient grain is a true Godsend to vegans (and the gluten free kids!). It’s wonderfully versatile, delicious, easy as rice to make, and delivers about nine grams of protein per cooked cup.
6. Peas: One cup of boiled peas has nine grams of protein. Who would have thought? Time to fix up some vegan aloo mattar!
7. Dried Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in protein, around ten in just a quarter cup, AND they’re a fantastic source of magnesium too. Just mix them with your breakfast or trail mix. Sometimes I even add them to curries and winter squash soups.
8. Beans and Lentils: I already had a good relationship with beans, but this just makes me love them more. One cup of pinto, kidney, chickpea, or black beans, pumps you up with 13-15 grams of protein, and filling and heart-healthy fiber. And with the same amount of lentils providing 18 grams of protein, you can mix them up in rice dishes, veggie burgers, casseroles, etc knowing that you have got a well balanced nutrient profile.
9. Millet: Another fantastic grain! Millet delivers a solid eight grams of protein per cup, about the same as its better known counterpart quinoa, as well as six percent of your iron needs.
10. Sprouted-grain bread: Remember how nut butter has eight grams of protein? Go ahead and double down on your protein needs by smearing your nut butter on some hearty sprouted-grain bread and you’ll get about ten more grams of protein.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.