By Megan Roosevelt, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com
A plant-based diet is nutrient rich packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, healthy fats, energizing carbohydrates and protein! If you eat a plant-based diet, a vegan diet or a vegetarian you likely have been asked “how do you get enough protein?” The truth is, many plant-based foods contain protein! For example did you know that 1 cup of cooked lentils has approximately 18 grams of protein, ½ cup of cooked oatmeal approximately 5 grams of protein and 3 tablespoons of Hemp Hearts has 10 grams of protein! The average sedentary female needs 46 grams of protein per day and the average sedentary male needs 56 grams of protein. If you’re eating a varied, balanced diet of real, plant-based whole foods it is possible to easily meet and exceed your protein needs! To note, individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding or an athlete will need more protein per day. The best way to know exactly how much protein you need per day based on your height, weight, activity level and health status is to meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
Now that we know that protein is abundant in many plant-based foods, you may be looking for inspiration for how to add protein to your meals and snacks throughout the day. Below are 5 ways that I add plant protein to my day!
1. Add Hemp Hearts To Everything! Did you know that Hemp Hearts have a mild flavour and texture profile which makes them perfect to “sneak” into almost any meal or snack without noticing! A few of my favourite examples are smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt bowls, soups, sauces or baked treats. One serving of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts (30 grams or 3 tablespoons) has 10 grams of protein as well as 10 grams of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats.
2.Swap Condiments For A Protein Packed Spread: Hummus is a great dip and spread made with protein packed chickpeas. Instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich or in a wrap, try hummus for a boost of protein! You can even make hummus with Hemp Hearts for even more of an protein boost.
3. Enjoy a Daily Smoothie: Smoothies are a fantastic way to consume more protein. You can add a quality plant-based protein powder, a scoop of nut or seed butter and / or a handful of fresh nuts or seeds! Don’t forget to add lots of leafy greens such as kale or spinach or a boost of calcium, iron and filling fibre.
4. Grain Swap! Did you know that 1 cup of white rice only has 1 gram of protein however, 1 cup of wild rice has 7 grams of protein? Also quinoa, a pseudo-grain (because it cooks like a grain however it technically a seed) has 8 grams of protein.
5. Homemade Protein Salad Dressings: A traditional balsamic salad dressing is delicious however it lacks protein. Try making a homemade lemon tahini salad dressing! Tahini, which is made from ground sesame seeds, contains 6 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. This will come as no surprise, but I recommend adding Hemp Hearts to your salad dressing and a sprinkle on your salad for even more protein. Tasty salad dressing tip, blend your dressing in the blender to yield a smooth creamy consistency.