Oh, the protein question! The one everyone loves to ask when they find out you’re eating plant based. But the truth is, getting enough protein is essential to a healthy plant based diet. Here are a few easy ways to add a little extra to your day…
Lentil pasta is one of the quickest, easiest plant based protein rich foods – it has around 20 grams per serving! You make it just as you would traditional pasta and use it the same way. Simply pair it with your favourite tomato sauce or with a dash of olive oil, a few handfuls of spinach and sautéed vegetables. You can also use it to make a delicious cold pasta salad, adding in herbs, beans and fresh cut veg. Find it at most grocery and health food stores and check the ingredient list to make sure it’s made only with lentils.
If you love to snack on veggies and hummus (and who doesn’t?), you can easily up the protein by adding in a tablespoon of seeds. Hemp, chia, pumpkin, sunflower or flax are all great options – or a combination of any you like. Seeds are also full of healthy fats for extra energy making them a win-win for your afternoon snack!
Nut butter is a simple and delicious way to sneak in more protein. It’s perfect paired with an apple or banana as a snack or right out of the jar with a spoon! Adding a scoop or two in your smoothie will up your protein and make it nice and creamy. Almond and cashew butter are both good options and if you have a nut allergy, sunflower seed butter works too.
Nutritional yeast, an inactive dairy free yeast with a cheesy flavor, can be used anywhere you would have traditionally used parmesan cheese in your pre-plant based days. Typically, it’s added to pasta or blended with soaked cashews to make a ‘cheesy’ sauce, but you can also simply sprinkle it on salads, roasted veggies or baked potato to boost your protein. Three tablespoons have 8 grams of protein plus tons of energizing B vitamins. Learn more about Nutritional Yeast here.
Starting your day with a protein rich breakfast gives you energy to get through your morning so you’re more productive and less likely to reach for an unhealthy mid-morning snack. Oats are full of protein (plus iron and fibre) making them a perfect choice for a protein rich, plant based breakfast. Plus, you can top them with even more protein like seeds, nuts or nut butter. Don’t have time to wake up 20 minutes earlier to make oatmeal? Not to worry, you can prep it the night before by putting the oats and the water in a pot with a lid in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you’ll only need to cook them for a few minutes to warm them up. Choose steel cut or rolled oats as they’re the least processed and avoid sugary or flavoured packaged oats.