There are many ways to define “plant-based” but if you’re not eating eggs, fish, dairy, or meat it’s important to know where to find protein.
Hi there, Toby Smithson here with DiabetesEveryDay. Thanks for joining me today. Remember to hit the subscribe button. I post a new video on diabetes management every week.
What is Plant-based Eating?
There is a lot of discussion about plant-based eating along with research showing improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure management. But what is “plant-based”?
The answer is…well, There isn’t one definition of a plant-based diet, but it can be described as more of a lifestyle. Plant-based can mean simply adding more plant foods to your eating plan or choosing a vegetarian eating plan that includes all or some of these food groups – dairy, eggs, and fish OR plant-based maybe a vegan eating plan where there are no animal products consumed.
Variety Of Ways To Get Protein
As a dietitian, I’m always concerned that people are getting all the nutrition required. With plant-based eating, whichever variation you are following, I worry that people may not get enough protein. So, in today’s video, I will share the varieties of ways you can get protein into your diet even if you are following a plan that does not include protein superstars like dairy, eggs, and fish.
- Legumes, beans, peas, and lentils are a high-fiber protein source that can easily replace meat at your meal. I refer to this as Beans with benefits because Beans help blunt spikes in blood sugar and studies have shown they continue to keep post-meal blood sugar readings regulated five hours later. An important note here is that there are carbohydrates in beans, after all, that’s how we can account for the great source of fiber. In a ½ cup cooked serving of beans, there are 8 grams protein, 21 grams of carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, and 1-gram fat.
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- Vegetarian burgers are another option for getting protein, but all veggie burgers are not created equal. Please check the nutrition facts label so you know the amount of carbohydrate, protein, and fat- be aware that some burgers will have saturated fat, and being at a higher risk for heart disease, it’s best to keep your saturated fat intake low.
- Tofu, a curd made from soybeans, is very mild in taste that picks up the flavor of the other ingredients in the recipe. Soft tofu can be used in soups, sauces, and desserts, and firmer tofu works well in stir-fries. A 3- ounce serving contains 8 grams of protein, 2 grams of carb, 2 g fiber, and 4.5 grams of fat.
- Tempeh is also derived from soy, it’s made from fermented soybeans, has a distinct flavor and meaty, chewy texture like ground beef, and can be used that can be used in curries, chilis, sandwiches, and stir-fries. Six slices contain 11 grams of protein, 14 grams of carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, and 3.5 grams of fat.
- Edamame also is a source of soy protein that can be used to top salads, in soups, or stews OR also can be used as a protein snack. This whole package of Edamame has 9 grams of protein, 7 grams of carb, and 4 grams of fiber. One-third cup of these dry roasted edamame contains 14 grams of protein, 9 grams of carb, and 6 grams of fiber.
- Seitan, made from wheat gluten, can be used for making roasts or for replacing strips or chunks of meat in recipes such as fajitas, stews, or stir-fries. A 3-ounce portion contains 16 grams of protein, 10 grams carb, and 2 grams fat.
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP), is also a soy product made of defatted soybeans, provides a great substitute for ground meat. A one-quarter cup contains 13 grams of protein, 9 grams of carb, 5 grams of fiber, and no fat.
- Hemp seeds offer an easy way to add protein but not much carbohydrate to your meal. I add this to my oatmeal to boost my pro in the morning- 3 T offers 10 g protein with only 1-2 grams of carb.
- Plant-based protein milk, there are several plant-based kinds of milk on the market. If we are looking to get the best protein per serving, I suggest choosing the dairy-free milk that contains at least 8 grams of protein per serving, and personally, I like choosing those that are low in carb 1 gram or less than 1 gram per serving. The key here is to look at the nutrition facts label to make sure you are getting a good source of protein, all plant-based milk are not equal.
I would say there are several great sources of protein that you can include in your plant-based eating plan. BUT… I left out a few. Do you know what they are? Please comment on my YouTube video. What is the other grouping of food that has a good source of plant-based protein?? Here’s a hint…it’s one of my favorites to use as a snack or as part of my meal!
Until next time, Cheers to your health.
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