Eating greener and more mindfully has become a rising trend in recent years and with good reason. But there is a common misconception that those adopting a meat-free diet will struggle to get an adequate intake of protein.
According to Accredited Nutritionist and Dietitian, Rebecca Gawthorne, this is far from the truth. In fact, she argues there are plenty of plant-based foods that are rich in healthy protein to ensure you meet your daily needs.
“Factors such as gender, weight, age, health status and muscle mass can impact on how much protein an individual needs from their diet,” she tells Women's Health.
As a general guideline, the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for protein which is measured in grams per kilogram of bodyweight for the average adult is:
- 0.75 g/kg for women
- 0.84 g/kg for men
- 1g/kg for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and for men and women over 70 years.
Wanna up your daily protein intake? Dig into one or two of these protein-rich foods every day:
1. Lentils and beans
Both are amongst the world’s best sources of plant-based protein. 1 cup of cooked lentils contains 18 grams of proteins, and 1 cup of cooked beans contains 15 grams protein!
2. Tempeh, tofu and edamame
These are great substitutes for meat and are high in protein and fibre. Edamame is also rich in folate and vitamin L while Tempeh is a good source of probiotics and B vitamins. All three contain calcium, iron and protein at 10-20g per 100g serving and are perfect for all types of dishes and cooking styles – add in lots of colourful vegetables for a delicious and healthy stir fry!
3. Plant-Based Protein Powder
Adding plant-based protein supplements to a well-balanced diet is a convenient way to ensure you meet your protein requirement, especially if you are time-poor. Rebecca recommends the nutritious vegan powder, Healthyroo ZEST SLIM which contains 15 grams of protein per serve. This nutritious powder is Australian certified organic, with pea and rice protein powder to keep you feeling fuller for longer. It also has added nutrient-dense superfoods including chia seeds, flaxseed, spirulina and quinoa to support general health and maintain your energy, focus and concentration levels throughout the day.
4. Non-dairy alternatives
Soy milk and soy yoghurt are great reliable source of protein and essential amino acids. Each cup of unsweetened, plain soy milk contains approximately 10 grams of protein. A nutritious addition to your morning breakfast oats and/or smoothies!
5. Whole grains
½ cup of cooked whole grains packs about 8 grams of protein and they are a great way to feel full on a natural diet. Try quinoa, wild rice, wholegrain pasta and oats to fill out your meal with protein goodness.
6. Nutty goodness
Nuts are a great source of natural protein and with so many variations that you’ll never get bored! Try incorporating a small handful of nuts into your diet each day of the week e.g. walnuts on Monday, almonds on Tuesday, pistachios on Wednesday, cashews for Thursday and peanuts for Friday. ¼ cup of nuts contains approximately 8 grams of protein.