One thing that is important to me is to make sure that I get enough protein. Being a picky eater, this is a plant based protein sources one for me as I do not like the go to vegetarian protein sources: beans, lentils and weird (to me) meat substitutes … and I worry about getting all the essential amino acids.
If you were to ask my family, I would be among the top contenders for world’s pickiest eater.
Several years ago, I made the choice to be vegetarian.
This came as a surprise to my family as I was known as THE meat eater in the family. Then they questioned me as to what I would eat, knowing that I am picky. If I had to narrow it down, I would say that I love dry crunchy foods and raw crunchy veggies.
Why is protein important?
Protein has been called the building block of life.
Protein is needed by the body to repair tissues and to make enzymes and hormones. It is also used as building blocks for skin, bones, muscles, cartage, and even blood. Protein is made up of combinations of 20 different amino acids. Nine of these amino acids — histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine — are considered essential amino acids that cannot be synthesised by most mammals, including humans. They must be obtained by food sources.
While most people are actually not deficient, I personally worry because I do eat such a limited number of foods and do not eat meat.
Plant Based Protein Sources for Picky Eaters
8 grams of protein per 1 cup (cooked)
Quinoa is an ancient grain, is gluten free and is a good source of iron, zinc and magnesium.
This one I have just started eating on its own.
I usually mix it in with rice. Up to a couple of years ago, rice was on the long list of foods that I would not eat. Quinoa has a crunchier texture than rice which took me a while to get used to.
Hemp Seeds – Hemp Hearts
10 grams of protein per 3 Tablespoons
Hemp hearts are not only a complete protein, but also a good source of Omega-3 and Omega-6. They’re also a good source of iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
It has a nutty flavour. When I feel a little bit snacky, I will eat a spoonful of hemp hearts. I recently tried hemp hearts as a protein “addition” to my salad. It was okay, but since the salad was wet it was a weird texture experience for me. Looking back, I would have preferred it on the side.
I usually add this to my cereal, granola or add it to chia seeds and it eat with a spoon — dry.
I hate wet and soggy chia seeds.
4 grams of protein per 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of powder
This blue green algae tastes horrible mixed in water and smells funky as a encapsulated supplement. I prefer to take it as a supplement. The usual capsule is about 500 mg. Two capsules would be 1000 mg, which is one gram of spirulina powder. You would have to take 14 capsules to get 14 grams of protein. Not really worth it in my opinion unless you really need the protein. The best way would be to use the powder… but ewww.
Interesting side note.
When I was re-watching Earth 2 a few years ago, my ears perked up when I heard them say they had brought sprirulina with them as their food source. This was after reading about the benefits of it and the author of the natural health book boasting that you could survive solely off of it.
Spirulina is a source of complete protein has good amounts of B vitamins, copper, and iron.
4 grams of protein per 2 Tablespoons
Chia seeds are tiny little round seeds that are usually black or white.
They absorb liquid and make a gel like substance. I hear (and read) that people like this. They make chia pudding out of it. It can be used as an egg substitute in baking. It can be added to smoothies, oatmeal, granola and even as a salad topper.
They’re a good source of omega-3, iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium
Potatoes – A high quality plant based protein source –
8 grams of protein per 299 grams ~ a large potato, baked with skin
Potatoes are unfortunately high in starchy carbohydrates and low in fibre. The fibre is found in the skin. They provide the lowest amount of protein of the common plant based proteins that I actually eat, yet the quality of the protein is actually quite high for it to be a plant based protein. Baking or boiling poatoes with the skin helps to retain the nutrients like Vitamin C, potassium, folate and B6.
Sweet Yellow Corn
5 grams of protein per cup (164 grams)
Like potatoes, corn is high in starchy carbs. Starches can cause a rise in your blood sugar. Fibre can slow the process. One cup of sweet yellow corn has 5 grams of fibre. Sweet yellow corn also
3 grams of protein per 91 grams (1 cup)
I only eat broccoli raw.
For my family, I drizzle the broccoli with some olive oil and garlic powder and roast it.
Its Vitamin C, K1, folate, potassium, manganese, and iron.
6 grams of protein per 28 grams ~24 whole unsalted almonds
Almonds contain small amounts of all the essential and non-essential amino acids. When it comes to nuts, almonds have the highest protein content.
4 grams of protein per 28 grams ~ 7 whole or 14 halves
Good source of manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorous. Also a good source of B6, folate. and thiamin.