The Top 3 Plant-Based Protein Sources
Vegan protein sources are crucial for those following a plant-based diet. Protein contains amino acids which are the building blocks for all body functions such as growing, repairing body tissue, and breaking down food. But for many, it can be difficult to obtain enough protein through plants. Here are the top vegan protein sources that provide you with all the nutrients you need.
What are amino acids?
Proteins are made up of amino acids and we need nine essential amino acids to make the protein in our bodies. The nine essential amino acids are:
According to nutritionist and dietitian, Amanda Muhl, “people used to think you needed to eat all nine in one meal to make the protein, but we now know that’s not the case. You can eat a variety of plant foods and get those amino acids throughout the day, and that’s fine”. An in-depth explanation of amino acids and its function in the body is explored in the book Healthy Body.
What are the benefits of plant-based protein?
Plant-based protein is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. It is also higher in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Why is protein so important?
Protein makes up pretty much every part of our body, including our muscles, bones and skin. And for kids, it’s especially important for growth.
What are the best sources of protein for a plant based diet?
Tofu, tempeh, edamame soy milk and yoghurt are all made from soybeans and make excellent plant-based protein sources. These are complete proteins as they have all nine amino acids in them.
Legumes are really versatile. Well known legumes include beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils. You can put them in a spaghetti sauce, or nachos, or enchiladas.
Wholegrains are really high in protein, particularly quinoa, which is a whole protein as well. Quinoa is great in a salad or you can use it instead of rice.
Other healthy and nutritious vegan diet protein sources include roasted chickpeas, baked beans on toast, nut butter with bread or veggie sticks and hummus with crackers. Nuts are also great as a snack.
For more ideas on how to use plant-based proteins, check out Simple Tasty Good.