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Top Philadelphia Area Dietitian Recommends Easy Protein Sources for a Plant Based Diet


Following a plant-based diet can be better for you and better for the environment. A plant-based diet rich in fresh, whole foods can help you eat more fiber, vitamins and minerals and develop healthier eating patterns. There is a common misconception that getting enough protein on a plant-based diet is difficult. Protein is an essential part of the diet needed to maintain the body’s tissues, including muscles, tendons, skin, nails and hair and helps keep the body’s systems functioning properly, especially after a workout. Every individual’s daily protein needs vary depending on age, weight and activity level, and fitness goals. The general rule of thumb being 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. A complete protein contains all nine of the essential amino acids that our bodies can’t make on their own. 

For a satisfying meal, make sure your plate is balanced with vegetables and/or fruit, whole grains, a healthy fat, and some of these easy plant-based protein sources recommended by top Philadelphia area nutritionists, Yummy Body Nutrition:

Tofu: One serving contains about 10 grams of protein. Try it air fried or baked and toss it in your favorite sauce, paired with a side of veggies. 

Edamame: A cup of edamame contains about 17 grams of protein. It’s easy to keep in your freezer and heat up for a protein-packed snack! 

Quinoa: A great base for a salad or an alternative to rice, quinoa is a complete protein. One cup cooked contains about 8 grams of protein. 

Soy milk and yogurt: Soy milk and soy yogurt are great on their own or added to a smoothie for a boost of protein. 

Some plant based milks: Some dairy-free milks, such as hemp seed or pea protein milks can contain up to 8 grams of protein per serving and can be added to a smoothie, in your coffee, with a bowl of cereal or enjoyed on their own.   

Legumes paired with whole grains: Legumes like beans, chickpeas, lentils and peanuts can be paired with a whole grain to make a complete protein. Plus, they typically contain a healthy serving of fiber. Some examples include rice and beans, peanut butter on whole grain toast and pita bread with hummus. 

Seeds: Seeds, like hemp, chia, pumpkin and flax seeds make an excellent addition to salads, soups, smoothies and yogurt for a plant-based protein boost.   

Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables contain small amounts of protein, too! Higher protein veggies include broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts.  

Remember, going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to eat totally vegan or restrict foods you love. It’s about prioritizing more whole, plant-based foods which can help you eat the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Incorporating protein sources into your diet will help keep you satiated while keeping your body functioning at its best.  

If you’re interested in learning how to eat healthier, contact Yummy Body Nutrition at (484) 416-190 or info@yummybodynutrition.com to schedule an appointment with a dietitian or visit their website at https://yummybodynutrition.com. Most insurance plans cover free nutrition sessions. Yummy Body Nutrition is a leading nutrition counseling company in the Philadelphia region and AFC Fitness recommends them for members seeking dietitian services in the Lower Merion area.

Sources. USDA.gov, Healthline.com