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5 Plant-Based Proteins You Should Try

Ashley Moyna

Best known for helping keep you full longer and helping repair tired muscles after a tough workout, protein is an important part of a healthy diet. While meat and dairy products are popular sources of protein, you can also get this nutrient through a variety of plant-based options.

We’re not just talking about black beans here — there are lots of other options!

There’s room for other plant-based proteins at the table that also pack a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Here are 5 plant-based proteins to add to your next meal or snack!

1. TOFU

What is it? Tofu is made from the processing of soybeans into a block like form. Tofu doesn’t really have any flavor, so it tends to absorb whatever other flavors are in the dish you’re making.    

Protein punch: 3 ounces of firm tofu boasts 7 grams of protein!

Serve it up:

2. Edamame

What are they? These immature soybeans are bright green in color and are usually found in the frozen section of most grocery stores. You can buy them shelled or still in their pods.

Protein punch: Just ½ cup shelled edamame packs 8 grams of protein!

Serve ’em up:

  • Toss shelled edamame on top of your favorite salad.
  • Pair this Edamame Dip with veggie sticks or whole grain crackers.
  • Snack on these savory Thai Sesame Edamame.

3. Lentils

What are they? Technically the dried seed of a legume, lentils are a starchy protein source. They don’t have to be soaked before cooking (saving you prep time!) and have a mild, earthy flavor.  

Protein punch: 1/2 cup cooked lentils = 9 grams of protein

Serve ’em up:

4. CHIA SEEDS

What are they? Chia seeds are small but mighty seeds that come from a plant commonly known as the chia plant (betcha didn’t see that one coming!). They’re capable of absorbing 10-12 times their weight and form a gel-like substance when immersed in liquid, which is why they are sometimes used to replace eggs in baked goods or make puddings for snacking.

Protein punch: 2 tablespoon chia seeds gives you 4 grams of protein!

Serve ’em up:

5. Spirulina

What is it? Spirulina is a blue-green algae that’s most commonly purchased in powder form. While it carries a heftier price tag, it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant for those looking to take their health to the next level. Like with all supplements, make sure to buy spirulina from a reputable source to reduce the chance of contamination!

Protein punch: Only 1 tablespoon has 4 grams of protein!

Serve it up:

  • Add a spoonful to your morning smoothie.
  • Snack on these Spirulina Energy Globes.
  • Stir some spirulina into a bowl of warm oatmeal.