Exploring Plant-Based Proteins
There has been a lot of news coverage about the rise in popularity of plant-based proteins, from athletic stars like Tom Brady and Venus Williams talking about their reliance on plant-based diets, to the medical community encouraging patients to consume less meat. Eating more plant-based proteins is also encouraged in those who are attempting to lose weight and adopt healthier eating habits. If you are curious to learn more about today’s hot topic of plant-based proteins keep reading and find out if this type of diet could be a good fit for you.
While the phrase is catchy, plant-based proteins are simply plants that contain a lot of protein! There are many plants that you are likely eating already that are high in protein, such as lima beans and peanuts. Wild rice, black beans, and organic tempeh are other options to up your protein intake while avoiding meat. If you are going to be relying more on vegetables to meet your nutritional needs, be sure to opt for organic products. A lot of the vegetables produced in the United States are laden with chemicals such as pesticides and manufacturers are not required to label genetically modified items. Organic options can ensure that your veggies are packed with nutritional goodness!
The FDA recommends 50 grams of protein per day for a healthy diet, but many doctors posit that the better determination of your protein requirements is to divide your body weight in half. This will likely give you a significantly larger target than 50 grams, but it is still definitely an achievable level, even without meat consumption. Superfoods are a great way to reach your protein goals, and products such as spirulina, with an impressive 39 grams of protein per serving, can get you nearly to your goal with a breakfast smoothie!
Other products often associated with meat replacement, such as tofu and seitan also have their place in a plant-based protein diet. Seeds and ancient grains are two other ingredients to add to your shopping list, as they are easily added to most dishes, and pack a protein punch. Amaranth, hemp and pumpkin seeds are just a few options that can add flavor and protein to any dish. Black beans and green peas add 15 and 8 grams of protein respectively and are also quite versatile. There are more than enough plant-based proteins to keep your menu diverse and interesting as you explore meatless options for your family.
Adopting a plant-based diet is not for everyone, but if you are looking for healthy ways to cut down on meat while continuing to meet your protein requirements, these foods are a great place to start. Diets that are centered around fresh foods that are not processed or filled with sugar and bad fats can be delicious as well as healthy. If your family is reluctant to decrease their reliance on meat as a protein source, try increasing the amount of these protein-heavy vegetables while decreasing the portion size of the meat dish.