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19
Jul

Choosing a Healthy Plant-Based Protein

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fava,bean,protein,plant,nutrition,protein,healthy,dietWhen we think about our options for protein sources, meat usually comes to mind. Nowadays, there are a lot more options for plant-based proteins that can give your body the nutrients it needs without a lot of the fat, cholesterol, and calories of many animal protein counterparts.

The most popular and well-known plant-based protein source is tofu or tempeh which is made from soy beans by fermenting and culturing soy and soy milk and then pressing the curds into solid blocks. However, if you are allergic to soy, or you are trying to avoid eating too much of it, here are some other popular plant-based protein sources to incorporate into your daily diet.

Eggs (for ovo-vegetarians) – one large egg contains 78 calories, 5 grams of fat, 0.6 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of protein.

Peas – one cup of green peas contains 118 calories, 0.6 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein.

Lentils – one cup of lentils is 230 calories, with 0.8 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, 16 grams of fiber, and 18 grams of protein.

Nuts – 1 ounce of almonds (about 24 almonds) contains 164 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6.1 grams of carbs, 3.5 grams of protein, and 6 grams of protein.

Seeds - One ounce of sunflower seeds contains about 145 calories, 13 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs, 1.8 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.

Beans – One cup of fava beans contains 111 calories, 0.9 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein.

 

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When deciding on the best plant-based protein sources to incorporate into your daily menu, consider the protein, carbohydrate, and fat content of each. Your body needs at least half of your target weight in grams of protein each day to maintain your calorie-burning muscle mass (for example, a 160-pound person needs about 80 grams of protein a day). Make sure to rotate through different sources so you are not taking in too many grams of any of these macronutrients, since overdoing it can cause weight gain (YES, weight gain is possible even using plant sources!)

And of course, there are a lot of other meat analogues such as Quorn, Beyond Meat, Boca, MorningStar Farms, Impossible Foods… the list goes on. However, use caution: most are filled with carbs, fat, and a lot of sodium in a 3 to 4 ounce portion. In order to provide your body with the correct amount of protein for the day, you may end up indulging in a lot more salt, fat and sugar than you intended, which will cause you to retain water and ultimately begin gaining weight again.

Bottom line: You've got several protein sources to choose from. Just make sure to keep an eye on the nutritional details and rotate your proteins so you can enjoy food wisely and stop those pounds from coming back!

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