We hear more and more about plant-based diets and how they may benefit our health. But, one common struggle while following a plant-based diet is meeting our protein needs. The protein content from animal sources is typically higher than plant-based sources. Although a little more challenging, meeting protein needs on a plant-based diet is possible. Today, we help you uncover some tips on how to meet your protein needs on a plant-based diet.
Tip 1: Figure out your protein needs
The first step in meeting your protein needs on a plant-based diet is figuring out how much protein you need in a day. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer. Several factors go into determining your protein needs- activity level, age, gender, weight, presence of chronic diseases, kidney function, are just a few things that contribute to how much protein your body needs. In general, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8-1.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, some research suggests this may be too low. If you are older than 65, the RDA for protein is 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Additionally, your protein needs will be much higher if you are active, maybe even reaching 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight. If you are interested in knowing more about your specific protein needs, it is best to speak to a Registered Dietitian.
Tip 2: Form a complete protein
Have you heard the term complete protein? Well, if not, you are in the right place. A complete protein has all nine essential amino acids, whereas an incomplete protein lacks one or more essential amino acid. An essential amino acid is an amino acid that our bodies can not make on our own- so we need to consume it from our diet. Most animal proteins are complete proteins, but most plant-based proteins are incomplete. That makes following a plant-based diet a little tricky. But don’t worry- there are ways to make complete proteins by combining two different protein sources.
Our favorite combos:
- Whole grain toast with peanut butter
- Brown rice and black beans
- Hummus with whole-grain crackers
- Salad with sunflower seeds and chickpeas
Tip 3: Consume protein at every meal
Our next tip when following a plant-based diet, or any diet for that matter, is to distribute your protein throughout the day rather than to fill up on carbohydrates during breakfast and lunch and chowing down on protein at dinner. If your daily protein need is 80 grams, try having 20 grams of protein in each meal and 10 grams in each of your snacks. By spacing out your protein throughout the day, your body will be able to process and use the protein more efficiently.
Tip 4: Choose whole grains
Did you know there’s a reason that whole grains are recommended over refined grains? Crazy right!! Whole grains are considered complex carbohydrates, so they have much more nutrients than simple carbohydrates, like white rice, white bread, etc. Whole grains have more protein and more fiber making them more nutrient-dense. They will help fuel your body and keep you feeling fuller for longer. When following a plant-based diet, it is essential to choose whole grains to help you reach your protein needs. See this for yourself next time you’re at a grocery store, pick up white bread and whole wheat bread, and check for the protein and fiber contents in each. You will notice that whole wheat bread will have 3-5 grams of fiber and 5-7 grams of protein, whereas white bread typically has <1 gram of each.
Tip 5: Try adding CF(Protein)® to your daily routine
Need an extra dose of protein in your life while following a plant-based diet? We have you covered. CF(Protein)® uses an easily digested yellow pea protein, which offers a significant amino acid dose that promotes muscle recovery and repair. Pea protein is easily digested and has a pleasant taste and texture. Additionally, it’s a good source of iron and other nutrients. Unlike other protein powders like whey, pea protein isn’t derived from milk. CF(Protein)® has 13 grams of protein, making it a great on-the-go snack or an addition to any meal or smoothie!
Overall, following a plant-based diet is easy when you follow these tips!
Ready to start working on meeting your protein needs every day? You can CF (Protein)® here. And, as always, don’t forget to browse the rest of the CF Nutrition blog for empowering health, wellness, and lifestyle tips