Protein is essential to the functioning of a healthy mind and body. This macronutrient fuels muscle mass and bolsters the metabolism to keep your system running properly.
Plants offer a great, alternative source of clean protein that is low in saturated fats and free from antibiotics & growth hormones – something often associated with animal proteins. Additionally, plant-based foods generally contain a large array of quality amino acids – the organic compounds that make up protein. Plant-based protein sources may range from beans to seeds to leafy greens to sea vegetables.
A wonderful way to include adequate and varied plant protein into your diet is by adding it to your morning smoothies.
There are many organic, high-quality plant protein powders on the market now along with raw, whole foods that are easy to add for that boost of protein and muscle-building energy!
5 PLANT-BASED PROTEINS TO TRY:
Hemp is a wonderful source of plant-based protein as it contains 21 amino acids, including 9 amino acids that humans can’t produce on their own. It is also high in fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids to bolster heart health and aid in weight loss!
Grams of Protein per Serving: 15g
Where to buy: Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein
BROWN RICE PROTEIN
Brown rice protein is a convenient plant protein source that is allergen-friendly as it doesn’t contain gluten, soy, nuts, or dairy. It is easily digestible and low in fat. Studies have shown that brown rice protein is as effective in muscle recovery for athletes as whey protein, but without the cholesterol or inflammatory effects common of dairy-based products.
Grams of Protein per Serving: 11g
Where to buy: Jarrow Formulas Brown Rice Protein
Believe it or not, peas are an excellent source of protein! Pea protein comes from dried green peas that contain high amounts of fiber to keep you fuller for longer. This protein is very easily digested and contains vitamin K and copper to benefit muscle and bone health.
Grams of Protein per Serving: 24g
Where to buy: Now Foods Pea Protein Powder
In terms of protein by weight, the winner is Spirulina at 70%! Spirulina is a blue green algae that is high in complete, absorbable protein and B vitamins that are important to bodily functions, but traditionally only found in animal products and fortified foods. This protein source is also sustainable and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment.
Grams of Protein per Serving: 4g
Where to buy: Organic Burst Powdered Spirulina
SEEDS & NUTS
Perhaps the most unglamorous source of plant-based protein is nuts and seeds! These are nature’s little morsels full of Vitamin E, minerals, healthy fats, and proteins.
Go for organic, raw (and sprouted, if possible) nuts & seeds like: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, OR any of these in a raw nut butter! Not only will you get a boost of protein, but you’ll add a rich flavor and creaminess to your smoothie.
Grams of Protein per Serving: 7-9g
Where to buy: Organic & raw from bulk bins at health food stores!
One last note on plant protein powders: many of these sources are not complete proteins, meaning containing all essential amino acids. Include a wide variety of other plant foods in your daily diet, mix and match your protein powders from day-to-day, or invest in a protein powder that contains a mix of many different plant protein sources to balance your amino acid profile!
Some examples include:
- Vega Sport Performance Protein (30g protein/serving)
- Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Powder (20g protein/serving)
- Amazing Grass Amazing Meal Original Blend (11g protein/serving).
Inspired by our very own, Buff Beatnik:
A tasty smoothie that is perfect for that post-workout fuel leaving your body properly nourished, replenished and hydrated. Featuring House-Made Almond Mylk, Blueberry, Banana, Spinach, Raw Almond Butter, Dates, Brown Rice Protein, Hemp Seeds, Cinnamon to keep you feeling stronger and fuller longer.