How to ensure you’re eating enough protein on a plant-based diet
If you’ve been a part of the KOJA community for a while, it will be no surprise to you that we are huge advocates for including more plants in our diets, remembering that plant foods include fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and cereals, nuts, seeds, lentils and legumes.
Whilst we don’t necessarily agree with placing labels on our dietary patterns, we do however make an exception for the plant-based movement due to its core principles, those being to prioritise wholefoods from plant sources in our diet, and to limit or moderate our intake of animal products and highly processed foods.
Following a plant-based diet has been linked to an abundance of health benefits, most evidently improvements in our immunity, mood and gut health. It’s a big yes from us!
Plant-based diets and protein intake
In case you need to brush up on your nutrient knowledge, protein is one of the three macronutrients - alongside carbohydrates and fat. This means our bodies can break down proteins into amino acids to indirectly use as an energy source if required.
Every cell in our body requires protein to grow and repair. As a result, it plays an essential role in nearly every bodily process - think hormone production, muscle growth, heart health, blood sugar regulation, immune support, bone strengthening and fluid control.
Consuming enough protein also helps to increase levels of satiety and keep us fuller for longer.
Unfortunately, there is a common misconception that surrounds the difficulty of consuming enough protein whilst following a plant-based diet. The misunderstanding appears to be brought about by a lack of knowledge surrounding plant-based protein sources and the absorption of these foods.
Sure, some might perceive it to be ‘easier’ to meet our protein requirements when we consume more animal products [meat, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products], given these foods generally have higher amounts of protein and a ‘complete’ set of amino acids, meaning they are more easily absorbed by the body. This, however, doesn't mean it’s ‘challenging’ to meet your requirements whilst following a plant-based diet, especially if you have a plan in place. Plus, overconsuming animal products may actually be detrimental to your health.
How much protein do you actually need and what plant foods contain protein?
According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Men and Women aged between 19 and 70 require 0.84kg/g and 0.75kg/g* of protein per day respectively.
*[If you are a 30 year old female that weighs 75kg, you need 57g of protein per day]
Plant sources of protein include lentils, chickpeas, legumes, soy-based products [tofu, tempeh and edamame], nuts/nut butters, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and peas.
The NEW KOJA PLANT PROTEIN BARS contain a wonderful blend of high protein ingredients to help you meet your daily requirements.
Quick tips to ensure you consume enough protein on a plant-based diet
- Add a source of protein [mentioned above] to most of your meals and snacks. Aim to include a range of different protein sources to ensure you consume all of the necessary amino acids.
- If you consume alternative milks in your coffees or smoothies, look for varieties that have a higher protein content. Soy is the most nutrient dense plant milk on the market and contains ~8g protein per serve.
- Keep protein rich snacks on hand to help with those pesky mid-morning and 3pm sugar cravings. Our favourite snacks include a handful of nuts with greek yoghurt, wholegrain crackers and hummus, KOJA Health plant protein bars, home-made nut butter bliss balls and crunchy air fried chickpeas.
- If you struggle to consume enough protein through wholefood sources alone, you may wish to consider incorporating a high quality pea-based protein into your diet.
If you found this blog helpful or have any questions about our new plant protein bars, please get in touch via email@example.com
Blog written by Millie Padula, Dietitian and NutritionistNext Post Previous Post