Experts say we should eat more protein to maintain or lose weight, but research shows that eating red meat may increase risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Solution? Skip the steak and embrace these lean, green proteins.
Brown rice »
While 1 cup of plain, cooked brown rice contains just 5 grams protein, brown rice protein powders (often made from sprouted brown rice for increased bioavailability, digestibility, and antioxidants) ofer up to 12 grams in 2 tablespoons.
Get more: Mix the powder into smoothies; Simmer cooked brown rice with maple syrup, ground cardamom, and coconut milk for a better-for-you rice pudding.
A centuries-old crop, hemp boasts an ideal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. A whopping 33 percent of the hemp nut is protein; some hemp powders provide a solid 15 grams of protein in about 3 tablespoons. Hemp is sustainable, too—a plant reaches maturity in just 90–100 days.
Get more: Look for hemp powder, oil, seeds, milk, and butter; Sprinkle hemp seeds over cereal or yogurt— no need to grind; Drizzle hemp oil over roasted vegetables or mixed salads.
Nonallergenic pea protein also contains a wealth of amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which aid in muscle recovery. Recent research suggests that pea protein lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. A 2-tablespoon scoop of pea powder offers an impressive 28 grams of protein.
Get more: It’s available mostly as a powder, so add a scoop to soy milk, juice, or water; Stir into oatmeal.
One cup of cooked quinoa delivers 8 grams of complete protein, 5 grams fiber, and significant folate, magnesium, B vitamins, and bone-strengthening manganese. Other perks: It tastes pleasantly nutty and cooks in 20 minutes. Rinse well before cooking to wash of each seed’s bitter coating.
Get more: Look for pasta, breads, and granola enhanced with this naturally gluten-free food; Combine cooked quinoa with beans, corn, tomatoes, and cilantro for a Tex-Mex salad; Mix cooked quinoa with milk, raisins, and cinnamon for breakfast.
Ready to give plant-based protein a whirl? All four of these premium protein sources are available in Optim Nutrition Vitra Plant Protein. Optim Nutrition Vitra is made from natural, whole food ingredients that provide the nutritional boost you want with a sweet and creamy taste you’ll love.
Article from March/April 2016 Living Healthy Everyday Magazine. Download your copy here.