6 Smart Plant-Based Protein Sources

Feb 14 2018
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I avoid meat, for the most part, but I want to make sure I’m still eating enough protein. Any ideas for plant-based protein sources?

Protein Fiend
Answer@2x Hi Protein Fiend,

Meatless meals are great, but you're right: It's important to make sure you’re getting enough protein. Here are six great plant-based sources... plus recipes and food finds, of course! Bonus: Meatless proteins are often major money savers.

Beans

Black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and other legumes ROCK. These little guys are tasty and versatile… Toss some over a salad, mix with cauliflower rice, or enjoy in a big pot of chili. Stock up on canned beans, and remember to rinse them: You'll reduce the sodium content by about 30 percent! I also like fat-free refried beans (hello, breakfast tacos!); just make sure they're vegetarian if that's important to you. You can even disguise your beans in meatless burger patties like these.

Lentils

These days, it's pretty easy to find precooked lentils in the canned food aisle. Use 'em anywhere you'd use beans! There are also some excellent lentil soups out there. A cup of Progresso Vegetable Classics Lentil Soup is delicious and has just 160 calories, plus 9g protein (SmartPoints® value 4*). Another readymade option? Frozen meals, like Healthy Choice Simply Steamers Mediterranean-Style Lentil Bowl. That one has 250 calories and a whopping 13 grams of protein (SmartPoints® value 7*), thanks to a mix of chickpeas and lentils!

Tofu

When you think meatless, you probably think tofu. But this protein is way more than a chicken wannabe. Transform it into meat-like crumbles a la this So-Good Sofritas Cauliflower Rice Bowl, infuse it with sesame-ginger flavor like we did in this stir-fry, or enjoy it pad Thai style with zucchini noodles! My top tip for preparing tofu? Thoroughly drain and pat dry before cooking it...

Protein Powder Made with Pea Protein

Yes, pea protein is a thing! Protein powder is an easy way to add protein to baked goods, shakes, oatmeal... You name it! Whey protein powder (made with dairy) is super common, but pea protein powder is an excellent plant-based alternative. And, no, it won't make your food taste like peas! Look for kinds with around 100 calories per serving. Amazon sells a slew of 'em! Then use 'em in any recipe that calls for protein powder.

Powdered Peanut Butter

Get the taste, texture, and protein power of peanut butter for a fraction of the calories. A 2-tbsp. serving of powered peanut butter has about 50 calories and 2g fat, compared to 195 calories and 16g fat in regular peanut butter, and it's still loaded with protein! Mix with water for a spreadable treat, or add it to batters, smoothies, overnight oats, and more. It doesn’t get peanut butter than this! Click for more info on this miracle ingredient... Then get the recipes!

Edamame

Ditch carby potato chips, because there's a new snack in town! Made from young soybeans, edamame is naturally free of gluten and full of protein. You’ve probably enjoyed it as an appetizer at sushi restaurants, but you can also find it in your supermarket. Brands like Seapoint Farms sell 100-calorie snack packs of dry-roasted edamame… each with 10 grams of protein. Edamam-YAY! You can also scoop some up in the frozen section of the supermarket.

Chew on this:

Today, February 14th, is Valentine's Day! Oh, go ahead and splurge on some good chocolate...

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SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) when calculating the value of a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients using the Recipe Builder, not the calculator. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by WW International, Inc., the owner of the SmartPoints® trademark.