Excellent Sources of Plant-Based Protein

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Like a well-oiled machine, our bodies function optimally only when we take care of them. That means we must exercise, get the proper amount of sleep each night, stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking or excessive alcohol intake, and feed our bodies with good sources of clean nutrition.

Protein is a key component in the nutrition we all need. According to WebMD, “Protein is also a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen throughout your body in your blood. It also helps make antibodies that fight off infections and illnesses and helps keep cells healthy and create new ones.”

If you regularly add meats and dairy products to your healthy diet, chances are you consume enough protein. But what happens when you either don’t like or don’t eat meat or dairy products? You have to become creative when it comes to diet and make sure that your diet includes sources of plant-based protein, or you could become deficient. Protein deficiency can lead to muscle weakness and loss, dry skin, flaky hair, a weakened immune system, decreased bone density, anemia, and more.

The Mayo Clinic explains that “the recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 165 pounds, or 75 kilograms, should consume 60 grams of protein per day.”

Note that its says to “prevent deficiency,” so it’s likely your body may need more protein, as that is just the minimum. If you find that you have any of the aforementioned symptoms, talk to your doctor. But if you have analyzed your eating habits and find you need to increase your protein intake, take a look at some of these great options below. We encourage you to stick with fresh and whole foods rather than highly processed foods, as a diet heavy with processed foods, according to Healthline, “may increase your chance of developing nutrient deficiencies, especially in vitamin B12, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and long-chain omega-3s.”

The goal is to feed your body what it needs to function optimally, so explore the foods below and enjoy some new flavors!


Tofu is packed with protein. A half cup of raw tofu has nearly 22 grams of protein. It’s also a good source of calcium, and according to Forbes Health, “tofu contains all the essential amino acids an individual needs.” All of this makes tofu an excellent replacement for meat. You can eat it raw or cook it. It tastes good in salads, tacos, or fresh off the grill. Get an extra boost of protein by adding it to quinoa.


Tempeh is a fermented soybean cake found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. It has a slightly nutty and bitter flavor, but those who eat it say it’s delicious. It’s a great source of protein, with one cup containing nearly 34 grams of protein. In addition to being high in protein, it’s a good source of fiber, vitamin B12, and probiotics. You can add tempeh to soups, stir-fries, stews, sandwiches, and more.


Edamame looks kind of like a pea pod, but it originates from soybeans, and it’s a great source of protein, calcium, folate, vitamin K, fiber, and iron. A cup of cooked edamame contains about 18 grams of protein. You can eat them by themselves as a snack, add them to a vegetable mix, or use as a side dish.


Seitan is made from wheat gluten and is often used as a substitute for meat. It comes in strips or cubes and can be used in a similar way to meat. It is high in protein and contains about 25 grams per 3.5 ounces.


Lentils are a legume and are high in protein, offering about 18 grams per cooked cup. They are also high in fiber, iron, and vitamin B6. Lentils can be cooked in many different ways, as there are different varieties of lentils, so make sure you purchase the right kind for your recipe. Some varieties become mushy when cooked and are good for soups or stews. Others hold their shape better and can be formed into patties.


One cup of cooked chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) contains over 14 grams of protein. They are also high in copper, folate, manganese, and iron. Add them to salads, eat as a side dish, or dip some veggies into hummus, which is made primarily from chickpeas.

Green peas

While not as high in protein as some of the other foods mentioned here, green peas (containing about 8 grams per cooked cup) are a great addition to soups, stews, veggie mixes, or just on their own.

Kidney beans

Kidney beans are not only high in protein (a cooked cup has over 15 grams of protein), but they also contain fiber, folate, copper, iron, and other essential nutrients. Kidney beans taste delicious on their own and are a perfect addition to chilis or other stews.

Nut butters

Don’t discount good old peanut butter or almond butter. Two tablespoons of each kind have approximately 8 grams of protein. The key when searching for a good nut butter is to look for the natural versions, as they will be low in sugar and other preservatives. Nut butters taste great when spread on a piece of whole wheat toast, or you can dip celery, carrots, or apples in them for a healthy snack.

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds come from the seeds of the hemp plant, but they contain only trace amounts of THC. They are extremely nutritious, containing healthy fats, essential amino acids, vitamin E, and minerals. You will get about 11 grams of protein in 2–3 tablespoons of hemp seeds. This is an easy way to add protein to your diet, as you can sprinkle them on cereals, in yogurt, or over toast with peanut butter.


Almonds, pecans, walnuts, and other nuts are good sources of protein, with each offering about 6 grams per serving. Eat as a snack, add to a salad, or even add to your oatmeal. Stay away from nuts loaded with salt, especially if you have high blood pressure or other health conditions where you should limit your salt intake.


Spelt is a type of wheat and contains gluten, but it’s a good source of protein and contains about 10–11 grams per cooked cup. Replacing regular flour with spelt flour is a great way to add protein to your diet. And it’s healthier than white flour. Next time you’re making muffins or chocolate chip cookies, try spelt instead!


Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that has risen in popularity in the last decade or so. A cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein plus magnesium, folate, vitamin B6, zinc, and several other minerals. All of this makes quinoa a healthy way to add protein to your diet. Quinoa is easy to cook and is done similar to rice. Simply boil the water and let the quinoa simmer until fluffy. Then serve with veggies or plain as a side dish.


Don’t forget about the vegetables! Make sure you add veggies like spinach, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts to your daily menu. Each contains about 4–5 grams of protein per cooked cup.

Performance Inspired Plant-Based Protein Powder

Performance Inspired offers a plant-based protein powder in both chocolate and vanilla that you can easily add to your favorite milk product. In addition to 20 grams of multi-plant source protein, the powder contains 1B probiotics, 200mg of tart cherry for recovery, and 5g of fiber. It’s a perfect way to drink your protein when you’re on the go.

There are lots of easy ways to add healthy sources of protein to your diet. Try some of these and let us know which you like best!

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