One of the first concerns someone has when turning to a whole food diet is where they are going to get their protein. This really isn’t a problem. They have this fear because they have been taught that animal-based foods are excellent sources of protein. This is definitely true. It is also true that eating the right whole foods naturally gives you enough and in some cases a surplus, of the proteins you need for optimal health. These are natural proteins, unprocessed, which promote weight loss and overall health as a part of a whole food nutritional approach.
Listed below are 12 whole food types which are high in protein. Make sure you add some of these delicious non-animal foods to your diet to make sure you’re getting plenty of protein.
- Beans – garbanzo, lentils, kidney and black beans – 13 to 17 grams(g) per 1 cup serving
- Peas – green peas and black-eyed peas – 7 to 13g per 1 cup
- Nuts and seeds – hemp seeds, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pistachios and chia seeds – 5 to 10g per 1 ounce
- Collard greens and spinach – each 5g per 1 cup
- Mushrooms – 4g per 1 cup
- Corn – 4g per 1 cup
- Artichoke – 3.5g per artichoke
- Broccoli – 3g per 1 cup
- Tempe, edamame and tofu – edamame 12g per 1 cup, tempeh a whopping 21g per 4 ounces and tofu 9g per 4 ounces
- Soy milk and soy yogurt – 6 to 7g per cup
- Whole grains – spelt, amaranth, quinoa, brown rice – 5 to 11g per cup
- Seitan – beware, seitan is very high in wheat gluten. Some people may experience digestive problems eating it. This whole food super-source of protein delivers an amazing 52g of protein per 1 cup serving.
With the exception of the nuts, seeds, soy milk and soy yogurt, the protein amounts listed above are related to cooking that particular whole food. For example, cooked quinoa delivers 8g per 1 cup serving.
All of the above foods are versatile in the kitchen. Many of them can be eaten raw or cooked. In some cases, they can be combined for incredibly tasty, protein-rich stir-fries and salads, so experiment and give your taste buds a delight while shrinking your waistline, you’ll be glad you did.