It’s a common misconception that those adopting a plant-based diet will struggle to get an adequate intake of protein. But forget what you’ve heard, there’s a huge range of ways to boost the amount of this essential nutrient in your veg-heavy meals. With some simple substitutions and smart additions you’ll be rivalling pop-eye, without the need for excessive spinach consumption.
1. Use chia seeds as a thickening and binding agent
When combined with liquid, chia seeds have a sticky, jelly-like consistency. Most of us are used to throwing these nutritional gems in with our morning muesli but they’re also excellent additions to lunch and dinner options. Use them to thicken soups and savoury sauces, toss them through salads, and replace eggs as a binding agent in breads, muffins and cakes. These bad boys are packed with fibre and omega-3 ALA and contain all eight essential amino acids and a range of minerals and antioxidants.WH Recommends: The Chia Co.
2. Go nuts on nuts
Not only do they make for delicious and nutritious snacks, nuts make for a protein-rich addition to your salads, stir-fries, curries and mueslis. Go for almonds (six grams of protein per serving), cashews (five grams per serving) and walnuts (four grams per serving), and try to steer clear of heavily salted options. Nut butters also make for a smart (and spreadable) choice, perfect on toast, celery sticks or just a sneaky spoonful.
3. Get sprinkling those seeds
You might not think that adding something as small as seeds to your meal will boost your protein intake, but you’d be wrong. Pumpkin seeds offer 20 grams of protein per serving, sunflower seeds pack 19 grams, flax seeds have 18 grams and sesame seeds contain 17 grams. They’re also high in fibre, vitamins and monounsaturated fats.
4. Switch up your carbs
It’s no news flash that white bread is your worst option when it comes to carb-loading, but we can all be a bit savvier about the grains we choose to chow down on. Switch up your white rice for options like quinoa, amaranth, spelt, sorghum and lupin. These “ancient grains” (and yes, amaranth is seed masquerading as a pseudograin) all pack a protein-rich punch plus plenty of fibre.