Protein powered plants

Published 7:31 pm Saturday, October 17, 2015

Satisfy your body’s need for protein with fresh foods

Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely possible to optimize our health by consuming a plant-based diet. We are frequently asked: “How do you get enough protein without eating animal products to build lean muscle mass, sustain energy, and thrive while living an active lifestyle?” The answer is actually quite simple.

A plant-based diet can be full of foods with enough protein for us to thrive without eggs, dairy and meat.

The typical diet of modern Americans is primarily based upon saturated fats. These are proven to clog arteries, increase risk of cancer, diabetes and numerous other chronic diseases. Unfortunately, it is a common misconception that we need to eat meat to satisfy the body’s need for protein.


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What if you don’t like beans?

Do you have to eat tofu to get protein?

Did you know that every whole food contains protein? This fact may be surprising, but makes it easy to enjoy a plant-based diet loaded with protein, nearly free of cholesterol and high in fiber.

I have always found it fascinating to browse through local markets with the intention of diversifying the plants in my own diet. Although each person’s protein needs are different, the RDA recommends 0.8 grams of protein per kilograms of body weight for the average, sedentary adult.

My top 5 protein powered plant options

1. Quinoa

The king of all grains! Just ¼ cup of quinoa (dry) contains 6 grams of protein and can be eaten alone or paired with broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus for a nutrient dense, protein packed meal. It is also a great source of magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin E and zinc.

2. Broccoli

One cup of broccoli contains 5.7 grams of protein and is also a great source of folic acid, beta-carotene, zinc, vitamin C and B6.

Broccoli also contains more calcium than most dairy products.

3. Spinach

One cup of cooked spinach equals 5.35 grams of protein. Spinach is a super-food containing numerous health benefits in including protein. It is an excellent source of vitamin K, which helps ensure healthy brain function, nervous system and bones.

4. Asparagus

Asparagus is the protein king of vegetables. It contains approximately 4.32 grams of protein per cup (roughly 8 spears of asparagus). Asparagus also contains vitamin K, important in the prevention of osteoporosis. It is rich in vitamin A, folate, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants.

5. Almonds

Almonds are rich in nutrients and high in protein. One ounce of Almonds contains 6.3 grams of protein. They are a great snack, are nutrient dense, and aid in weight loss. Almonds also contain calcium, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, zinc and folic acid.