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6 Plant-Based Proteins You Need in Your Diet (and 6 Veggies You Must Avoid)

When many people think of plant based proteins, they immediately think “vegetarian,” “soy,” or “bland.” But let’s be clear, you don’t need to be vegetarian or vegan to benefit from and enjoy plant proteins (which your vegetarian friends have likely been telling you for years…)

In truth, it would likely be good for all of us—for health, nutrient density, and sustainability—to incorporate more plants, including high-quality plant proteins, into our diets. In the famous words of influential author Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

And the more high-protein options you have, the easier it is to consume about 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day, an amount (give or take a little) that appears to be a good target for optimizing body composition. High-protein nutrition plans have been shown to have a tremendous number of metabolic advantages, including:

  • Increasing fat loss and preserving calorie-burning lean body mass when following a reduced-calorie diet
  • Preventing weight regain after you’ve worked so hard to lose the weight
  • Optimizing muscle protein synthesis
  • Boosting metabolic rate
  • Increasing feelings of fullness and satisfaction, reducing cravings, and improving appetite control
  • And much more!

So here are 6 of our favorite plant-based protein sources that are nutrient powerhouses to boot:

6 Plant Proteins You Need in Your Diet

  1. Lentils. A member of the legume family, lentils come in several varieties—brown, red, green, black, and French, for example—that all provide a slightly different taste and texture. All, however, provide 9 grams of protein in a modest half cup serving of cooked lentils. While you can buy them cooked and canned, they are much faster and easier to cook than beans, so you can skip the canned versions if you choose. These tasty beans can be ready in just 15 to 20 minutes, with no need to soak. Plus, if you purchase split lentils, they take even less time to cook—just 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Pumpkin Seeds. While often considered a healthy fat (as they provide 14 grams/serving), these delicious seeds also provide more protein than an egg—10 grams in just a ¼ cup serving. Try them raw or roasted; enjoy a small handful or added to trail mix. Or sprinkle a serving over your big leafy green salad for added crunch, protein, healthy fats, and flavor.
  3. Quinoa. These tiny South American seeds provide 8 grams of complete protein per cup, so they’re often considered essential for vegetarian or vegan diets. They’re also pretty popular in muscle-building diets due to their high L-arginine content. Quinoa is also rich in healthy fats and fiber. Serve it up as you would any grain with veggies, beans, or a salad.
  4. Amaranth. While not as well-known as quinoa, this is another pseudo-cereal from South America that provides an impressive amount of protein—9.4 grams per cup. It’s also high in fiber, loaded with vitamins, and may help support lower blood pressure and decrease LDL cholesterol levels. It can be eaten like oatmeal, cooked and served like rice, added to veggies, or in a hearty, healthy salad.
  5. Adzuki Beans. These beans may not be the most well-known, but with 9 grams of protein in just ½ cup (cooked), they provide a lot of protein. They also provide 8 grams of fiber in a serving.
  6. Black Beans. If you can’t find adzuki beans at your grocery store, have no fear. Black beans also provide 8 grams of protein in a half-cup serving along with 6 grams of fiber. They are also highly versatile and work well in salads, soups, chili, and popular Tex-Mex dishes.

Avoid These 6 Veggies That Cause Weight Gain

While it’s quite clear that a diet rich in the aforementioned plant-based proteins possesses tremendous health benefits and supports weight management, this isn’t the case with ALL vegetables or plant-based foods.

In fact, some plant-based foods have been shown to promote dangerous health issues, including:

  • Increased Inflammation
  • Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Elevated Bad Cholesterol Levels
  • Higher Glycemic Index
  • And Much More!

With that in mind, we recently released a brand new report to shine the light on some vegetables and plant-based foods, especially 6 veggies that should be avoided at all costs.

Learn which 6 veggies actually pile on Belly Flab in this 22-page fat-burning report…Today we’re GIVING it away 100% free!

Just tell us where to text it!

6 Veggies That Cause Fat Gain ebook

Learn which veggies actually pile on BELLY FLAB in this 22 Page Fat-Burning Report… Today we're GIVING it away 100% FREE!

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To Your Health,

Coach Tim Skwiat, MED, CSCS, PN2

VP of Research and Development, BioTRUST Nutrition