A new study released by the Dalhousie University says more than six-million Canadians are limiting the amount of meat they eat. If you’re one of them and you’re looking at other sources for your protein intake, we’re here to help.
Alternative meat sources, such as lab-grown meats and insect proteins aren’t exactly appealing to most Canadians, so registered dietitian Nishta Saxena has plant-based alternatives you should consider trying.
Beans & Lentils
Foods such as lentils, black and white beans and chickpeas are an excellent source of fibre and packed with protein at a range of 22 to 29 grams of protein per cup! Use these in cold salads, hot chilis and stews, or even cook and create spreads like classic hummus or bean dips.
Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts are all great sources of protein, as well as fibre, heart-healthy fats and rich in antioxidants. They range in protein content from 20 to 24 grams of protein per cup. You can also use these as a protein-booster in other foods, as many people may not eat a cup at a time, and they are high in calories.
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
These popular seeds are great for kids because they are school safe. A cup of hulled sunflower seeds is about 28 grams of protein, tons of fibre and a sig source of vitamin E. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein at 20 grams of protein per cup! These seeds are also packed with zinc and manganese which many people are lacking in their diet, and of course they are full of fibre.
These are available in the natural foods section of your grocery store or a health food store, they are something you would add to food to boost the protein. About 3 tablespoons will give you a 10-gram protein-boost and add much needed essential omega-9 fats to your meal! Taste great on yogurt, in cereal, with fruit, or in a smoothie.
This is absolutely delicious on top or with so many foods. It offers a nutty crunch to anything and packs a whopping 34 grams of protein in a cup! Now, most would not eat 1 full cup, but even ½ cup at 17 grams of protein is a great source and is rich in essential fats and a very very good source of B vitamins!
This is what most people would think is a grain, but it’s actually a fruit seed, similar to quinoa so great for people with gluten-sensitivity. You can cook whole or even make a flour from. It has a good amount of fibre and 1 cup is packed with 24 grams of protein and is a great source of plant compounds to keep your heart healthy.
Edamame, tofu and tempeh
Soy is a plant and complete protein and can be eaten in many forms.
- Classic tofu is easy to use, a source of calcium as well at 22 grams of protein per cup
- Tempeh is tofu’s little fermented cousin, has been inoculated with a fungus rhizopus oligosporus, which increase the digestibility of the soy, and has more much more fibre than tofu. Tempeh has a whopping 28 grams of protein per serving and a delicious nutty flavour!
- Edamame are the unprocessed whole soy bean, in their fresh or frozen form they are full of fibre, vitamin K, folate and protein. They come in at 23 grams of protein per cup and make a great snack anytime!