Protein, fats and carbohydrates are all part of a healthy nutritional profile. When you are eating a met filled whole foods diet, it is very easy to find proteins since you will be eating lots of meat and seafood. But for those opting for a plant-based, whole foods diet, things may not be as simple. Many people believe that there is no way to get an adequate amount of protein if you aren’t eating meat, and while it is true that you might have to eat a bit more to eat your protein goals, it is far from impossible.
When you eat the right foods, getting enough protein into your body is not a problem on the whole foods diet. You first need to know exactly how much protein you should be ingesting on a daily basis.
How much protein should you be eating?
You should be getting between 10% and 15% of your calories from protein. So if you consume 2,000 calories (cal) per day, this means 200 to 300 cal should be delivered from protein. On average, 1 gram (g) of protein is equal to about 4 cal, so this means you would want to eat between 50 and 75g of protein if you eat 2,000 cal per day.
Now that you know how much protein you need to be eating, let’s find healthy protein sources available to you on a whole foods diet. Target the following sources of protein to ensure your body gets plenty of this essential nutrient.
Cooked Whole Grains – Spelt probably delivers more protein per 1 cup serving than any other whole-grain that is allowed on a whole foods diet. Spelt delivers a healthy 11g of protein in a 1 cup cooked serving. Amaranth and quinoa deliver between 8 and 9g of protein per 1 cup serving, with whole wheat bread, brown rice and rolled oats offering up 5 to 6g per cup.
Cooked Legumes and Beans – Garbanzo beans and lentils deliver tons of protein. They are two of several foods that offer more protein and other healthy nutrients when they are cooked than when eaten uncooked. You receive 17 g of protein from one cooked cup of garbanzo beans or lentils, 15 g from kidney beans or black beans, and 13 g from black-eyed peas.
Cooked Vegetables – Collard greens and spinach deliver a healthy 5g of protein per 1 cup serving. Mushrooms offer approximately 4g per cup, with 1 cup of broccoli or artichoke delivering between 3 and 3.5g of protein when cooked.
Seeds and Nuts – Hemp seeds are high in protein, with 10g per 1 ounce serving. Chia seeds, cashews, pistachios and almonds add 6g of protein per 1 ounce serving.
These are just some of the amazing protein sources you can find when you start following the whole foods path. If you are still nervous about meeting your daily protein goals, there are many Facebook pages and website forums where you can get ideas for creative ways to combine the above foods to maximize your protein intake.
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