Nutritionist Eva Killeen, director of the CNM Natural Chef and Vegan Natural Chef diploma course, explains what to look for when eating plant-based protein foods
Going meat-free and want to follow a balanced diet? Protein is essential, and vegetable sources of protein such as beans, seeds and whole grains are excellent choices that offer healthy fibre, vitamins and minerals.
How much protein do you need? We are all different, but the official Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) is set at 0.75 g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day, for adults. Here are some examples of plant based proteins to get you started:
Quinoa – 8g of protein per cup
Spirulina – 4g of protein per tablespoon
Kidney beans – 13g per cup
Chickpeas – 14.6g per cup
Sunflower seed kernels – 7.3g per ¼ cup
Vegetables don’t tend to have as much protein as legumes and seeds, but some do contain significant amounts, along with lots of antioxidants and heart-healthy fibre. For example, two cups of raw spinach contains 2.1 grams of protein, but remember to vary your greens daily. Avoid protein bars which may contain chemical nasties and can cause sugar crashes, stomach problems, and weight gain.
Do you have a healthy cooking question you’d like us to put to the CNM Natural Chef team? Get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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