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5 Healthy Plant-Based Protein Sources

One of the biggest dietary myths is that it is necessary to eat meat in order to get the best sources of protein. The truth is that there are many healthy plant-based sources of protein, and it is possible to get all of the nutrients that are needed by following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Protein is Important for Health

Protein is a necessary nutrient because it supports overall health and wellness. Many functions in the body depend on protein, but too much protein can actually lead to disease.

Doctors have found that meat consumption is connected with a number of health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Even though meat is so common in the Standard American Diet, it doesn’t mean that meat is good for your health! If you want to improve your health, then you need to make sure that you are focusing on healthier sources of protein that come from plants.

Plant protein sources are superior to meat because the plants provide other health benefits as well, such as antioxidants and fiber that support digestion and immune function. These nutrient-dense foods are powerhouses of good compounds that your body needs. So, increase your plant consumption and decrease your meat consumption.

Healthy Plant Protein Sources

As you are making changes to your dietary habits, it is a good idea to use resources that can help you with recipes and meal prep ideas. We have plenty of main meal recipes here on our website, making it easy for you to plan dinner with healthier plant-based ingredients.

Here are five plant-based foods that are packed with protein and should be added in your diet:

  • Beans and Legumes: Especially beans and lentils, because they have such high levels of protein. One cup of lentils has 18 grams of protein! Other options include peanuts, pinto beans, black beans, hummus, kidney beans, and more.
  • Seeds and Nuts: When you need a snack, grab a handful of raw, mixed nuts. High protein options include almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, walnuts, pistachios, and nut butters such as peanut butter or almond butter.
  • Green Vegetables: Did you know that spinach is packed with protein? Include green vegetables in your meal planning, such as all dark, leafy greens, peas, broccoli, and avocado.
  • Organic Whole Grains: Certain types of whole grains provide the protein that you need, such as oatmeal, and sprouted grain products. Another option is quinoa, which is often called a grain but it is technically a seed.
  • Protein Powder: For an extra boost of protein, add a plant-based protein powder in a smoothie each morning. Just make sure that you select a high quality organic brand to be sure that you are consuming the


  1. Terry Hurlbut March 11, 2016

    This article is incomplete–because all plant proteins are incomplete. You need to show how proteins from different classes of plants and plant-borne foods can complement one another–so that one can get all eight (in children, ten) essential amino acids in the diet.

    You also should include a link to a discussion of plant-based source of vitamin B12. If any exist. Seems to me you give up and recommend vitamin B12 supplementation.

    In fact, pernicious anemia is one of the great plagues of vegans.

    • The idea of needing to eat complete proteins was dispelled years ago. A variety of whole plant foods will supply all essential amino acids. They do not have to be consumed at one meal. The proteins are broken down into individual amino acids and dumped into what we could consider an amino acid pool. When the body needs specific proteins, they are assembled from the pool of amino acids.

      As for B12, we were designed to create it in our gut when we have a good balance of friendly flora, however, many today do not have adequate bacteria in the gut to produce the needed B12 so many will need to supplement to insure no B12 deficiency. You will find Dr. Donaldson (H. Diet researcher) has thoroughly cover this issue at

  2. Good day and thank you for this article!

    The number one question I am asked is where do I get my protein if I am not consuming meats into my diet.

    I was wondering about peanuts being a good source of protein as I thought they were not good due to poor digestion and also possibly grown in mold.

    Can you please clarify this?


    • Green leafy veggies are excellent sources of protein with some, such as spinach supply nearly 40% of their calories in the form of protein. Remember, horses, cows, etc. can spend their entire life eating grasses and have no protein deficiency. Peanuts are not a true nut but rather a legume. Raw nuts – walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc. are excellent protein and good fat sources.

  3. Carolyn March 11, 2016

    I have been on a plant based diet for 4 years now. I’m suffering from hair loss, seems to be linked to protein. I eat for breakfast a mixture of raw sprouted organic buckwheat, organic old fashioned oats, hemp hearts, organic pumpkin seeds, sunflower and flax seeds, flaked coconut with homemade almond milk.
    During the day I eat a variety of plant based foods both raw and cooked but typically avoid beans because I get so much gas. Quinoa helps with protein but I don’t like it well enough to eat it daily. Do you have a “secret” method of cooking that eliminates bean backfire? I do like beans but I’m active with people and don’t want to deal with the embarrassment.

    • While beans and legumes are fantastic nutritious foods, I’ve not found a successful way to eliminate the gas issue. Digestive enzymes with the meal helps some

  4. Dr. Flora Mason Van Orden March 11, 2016


  5. Oluyinka March 13, 2016

    Living by these vegetables and nuts, is the body more of alkaline, acidic or balanced…putting in mind that alkalinity is best for the body constituents? Thanks .

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