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5 Easy Ways to Get Your Recommended Daily Allowance of Protein via Plant-Based Foods

Lentil Loaf

This is a question that many plant-based diet adopters hear often, “But where do you get your protein?” It’s an important question, since protein is so vital to our bodies. Protein is constantly being broken down in our muscles, tissues, and organs, so food providing essential amino acids must replace that protein.

The CDC recommends, in general, that 10 – 35 percent of your daily calories come from protein. The recommended daily allowance for both men and women is 0.80 grams of protein for every kilogram (2.2 pounds) of body weight. Or, that’s 0.36 grams of protein per pound that we weigh.

It is possible to maintain a diet that helps sustain both the planet and your body. Here are five easy ways to get your recommend daily allowance of protein via plant foods.

1. Tempeh

Tempeh is a fermented soybean product that can take on the flavor of whatever you cook it with. One cup provides a whopping 31 grams of protein, one of the highest among plant sources. Adding some protein to your pasta dish, salad or rice bowl is as easy as throwing some tofu cubes, olive oil, and spices of the day into a pan on the stove. Or, instead of cutting the tempeh into cubes, try frying a chunk of tempeh in olive oil and your choice of spices, then using it as a patty on a sandwich with hummus (an extra protein bonus!)

2. Cooked Legumes

Including a nice variety of legumes in your daily diet is a good way to reach toward your RDA amount of protein. Lentils provide 18 grams of protein per cup, while black, kidney, pinto and lima beans provide 15 grams per cup. There’s so many to choose from. They can be mashed into burgers and cooked into tons of delicious, healthy, and wholesome vegan meals. Modern conveniences make getting legumes easy; find cooked lentils in cans and packages at grocery stores. Just be sure to wash canned and packaged legumes to decrease the sodium content.

3. Hemp seeds

Hemp should get more credit than as a hippy material used for friendship necklaces at festivals. What’s even better about hemp is that it serves as a complete protein and contains all of the essential fatty acids that the body does not produce on its own. This means you don’t need to combine hemp seeds with anything else in order for your body to fully absorb the protein. Hemp seeds are a perfect, balanced source of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Three tablespoons provides 11 grams of protein. Try sprinkling hemp seeds on a salad or in a smoothie. You can even get hemp protein powder, and some granolas or bars contain hemp as well.

4. Veggie Burger

There are dozens of varieties of frozen veggie burger patties on the market. Some are made with soy protein, while others use strictly vegetables and other types of beans and grains. Whatever your choice is, they’re an easy way to get 10-15 grams of protein, and they can be quickly cooked in the microwave or on the stove. Even better…make one at home.

5. Peanut Butter

A common pantry item that’s available virtually everywhere in America, peanut butter is an easy way to get protein. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein. If you spread that on a piece of whole wheat bread, you’re adding in another 7 grams, giving you a super quick meal packing 15 grams of protein and tons of nutrients. Other nut butters like almond butter, which contains 7 grams of protein per two tablespoons, are great choice. Be sure to choose a natural, organic nut butter spread, not a jar with hydrogenated oils. The best way to judge is to buy brands with two simple ingredients: the nut and salt.

Image Source: Lentil Loaf Recipe

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