By Tammy Fry, co-founder of The Fry Family Food Co.
As an athlete and mother of two growing boys, I know how important it is to include healthy protein sources in your diet. If you’re looking to increase your protein intake without relying on animal products, there are plenty of plant-based protein options that can help you build muscle, recover after a workout, and stay focused throughout the day. Here are my top 10 sources of plant-based protein:
Lentils are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. They’re also very versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and grain bowls. One cup of cooked lentils contains approximately 18 grams of protein, making it an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans. Lentils have a bad rep for being boring but that really doesn’t have to be the case. I have several delicious lentil recipes in my book, , but the one that my family loves the most is the Roasted Butternut and Lentil Lasagne. This is worth making! Trust me.
Chickpeas are another fantastic source of vegan protein and fibre. They’re a staple in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, but can also be used in salads, hummus (our personal fav), and even vegan burgers.
Tofu is a popular source of plant-based protein that is made from soybeans. Tofu is really versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries to smoothies. We blend it into our pasta sauces to make them extra creamy. It’s one of the most important items on my shopping list!
Interestingly, quinoa is a seed and it can be used as a substitute for rice or pasta. So if you want to reduce your carb intake and place with something more protein-focused, quinoa is a great way to go. Aside from being a great source of plant-based protein, it’s also packed with fibre, iron, and other essential nutrients, making it a wonderful addition to any healthy diet.
- Meat Alternatives
Good quality meat alternatives are usually good sources of protein, and they’re really convenient because they’re easy to use. You can make all your family favourites without relying on animal products. If you have meat eaters and non-meat eaters at the table, meat alternatives make it simple to feed everyone. It’s a true win-win.
- Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are rich in plant protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients. I love adding them to smoothies, salads, and other dishes to boost their nutritional value. They also add some texture to lunches, that my kids love.
- Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are tiny powerhouses that are loaded with protein, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a great source of antioxidants and can help to reduce inflammation. I often use them as a thickening agent in smoothies or as a topping for oats.
These little nutrient-packed nuts can be eaten on their own as a snack or added to salads, oats, muesli and other dishes. We love adding these to protein balls and homemade burgers.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is rich in plant protein, iron, and other essential nutrients. It’s very versatile and can be used in salads, smoothies, juices and so many other dishes. We love making plant-based creamy spinach with coconut or cashew cream to add to our dinners.
Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals. My kids love it in their smoothies because it makes them look like a dream, and getting kids excited about eating healthily is always a win for me.