In our locally-owned emergency room in Tyler, TX, we see how important good food and good health is to our Tyler community. Now, with the popularity of documentaries like “Fast Food Nation” and “What the Health” on Netflix, we see more members of our community being drawn to the health benefits of a plant-based diet. This decision is not an easy one. It means taming your lifelong carnivore habits and replacing them with things that you’ve never thought of trying.
So after years of relying on steaks, chicken, and cold cuts for protein, where do you turn to? Aside from the obvious beans and nuts, here is a list of some other proteins to include in your next trip to the grocery store.
Protein List for Building Your Plant-Based Pantry
Chia Seeds: Throw some chia seeds on your oatmeal or cereals to make a breakfast rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. When mixed with water, chia seeds add a gel-like thickness and crunchiness to different foods.
Lentils: If you want a break from beans or potatoes, lentils provide a starchy alternative that is filling. They also offer a good mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. Lentils can be used to make a variety of dishes like vegetarian meatballs and burgers.
Hemp Seeds: When you’re on the run, hemp seeds are a good way to add protein to a fast breakfast or lunch. Just like flaxseed, you can add them to your oatmeal, salads, and even smoothies. Hemp seeds are known mostly for their heart-healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids.
Quinoa: If you’re looking for alternatives to pasta and rice, quinoa is a great gluten-free option served either cold or warm. Not only does it contain complex carbohydrates your body needs, it is also a reliable source for protein and fiber.
Spirulina: Known as an amazing source of protein, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, spirulina has earned its place as a ‘superfood.’ It’s good for your blood, heart, and fighting anemia. Spirulina has a sweet, nutty flavor and is best used in smoothies.
Nutritional Yeast: This one sounds a little odd but, but don’t worry, nutritional yeast doesn’t contain any active yeast. Aside from its protein and B vitamins, you can take advantage of its cheesy flavor to make dairy-free dressings and sauces.