6 Best Plant Based Proteins

6 Best Plant Based Proteins

With the term plant-based being thrown around like a hot potato, those that would often shy away from a vegan or vegetarian diet are now embracing healthier eating. Yet, most feel this diet is lacking in the protein that comes so abundant in meat products. Although meat is like a multi-vitamin packed with all sorts of nutrients, more and more studies show the potential detrimental effects when meat and other animal products are the main staple in a diet.

Moreover, studies of plant-based eating are proving not only equivalent protein consumption to meat but a whole host of other health benefits that meat and animal product eating cannot offer. This includes high antioxidants capable of minimizing pathological risk along with other beneficial nutrients that support optimal systemic functioning.

In a study by Harvard University reported by the Washington Post it was found that,

“The health benefits of a plant-based diet, including lowered risk of heart disease, play a big role in its growing popularity. Regular meat consumption is associated with increased risk of other conditions such as pneumonia, diverticular disease, diabetes and several cancers. And during the pandemic, researchers from Harvard Medical School found that a healthy plant-based diet was associated with decreased risk of severe covid-19.”

Now, many Americans are embracing a more European and especially Asian sentiment when it comes to food which is less meat and more plant-based foods. If protein is a concern, check out these 6 best plant-based proteins and start your new path on a journey toward better health.


Before you turn your nose up at tofu take a moment to learn the benefits of this high protein packed food derived from soy (edamame aka soybeans). It clocks in with about 15 grams of protein per 4 oz serving (cooked). The taste of tofu by itself is bland and the texture can be mushy, however there are ways to improve this initial impression.

First, purchase extra firm tofu. Then it can be cut into cubes and added as a substitute for meat to any dish, particularly a stir fry. It can also be sliced into a thick rectangle shapes and sautéed into a crisp “steak-like” meal. In any recipe tofu will absorb all the herbs and spices used making a very tasty protein packed dish.

Note: There are concerns for some regarding too much soy and cancer, particularly breast cancer, however eating tofu a few times per week should not pose a problem. Speak to your doctor for recommendations.


Pronounced “keen-wah” this high protein grain is a super food in its own right. It contains 8 grams of protein and five grams of fiber per cup and includes a full spectrum of the nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is actually a gluten-free grain which can be prepared and eaten similar to rice but without the high glycemic index. 

Live Science reported that,

“A 2009 article in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture stated that quinoa’s “unusual composition and exceptional balance” of protein, oil and fat, as well as its minerals, fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins, make it a highly nutritious food.”

Brown Rice and Beans

The combination of brown rice and beans (black, white, red, chickpea, etc) is a perfect match for plant-based nutrition. The protein in this dish is about eight to fifteen grams per cup depending on the beans and the rice to beans ratio. 

Livestrong reported that,

“Rice and beans are both incomplete, plant-based proteins that, when eaten together, form a complete protein. Eating rice and beans in combination can provide you with a good amount of complete protein, fiber, carbohydrates and other nutrients.”

Vegetable Trifecta: Broccoli, Kale, Mushrooms

There is some amount of protein in just about everything you eat. These vegetables score high on the protein scale especially when they are paired together. The protein content of each vegetable as reported by Medical News Today is:

  • A single, medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4 g of protein
  • Kale offers 2 g of protein per cup
  • 5 medium mushrooms offer 3 g of protein

This combination contains nine grams of protein and is only one example of how plant-based choices, especially vegetables, can give you all the protein you need for each meal.

These 6 plant-based proteins should get you started on a path toward healthier eating and optimal functioning. There is no need to succumb to the cultural and overall societal expectations of eating meat. It is very rare that anyone, especially in America, is deficient in protein. However, the American meat based diet could be supplementing more protein than needed which some researchers believe may be adding to osteoporosis and other systemic malfunctions. In the case of osteoporosis, protein needs calcium to metabolize and when there isn’t enough it has been shown to sometimes leach it from bones rendering them weaker. 

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that,

“The high protein content of Western diets is often cited as a risk factor for osteoporosis or bone fractures. High protein intakes have been shown to affect calcium homeostasis, resulting in increased calcium excretion.”

Give plant-based proteins a chance.