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  • Writer's pictureTenille Sonnichsen, RD

Plant Based Proteins in a Nutshell

by Allison Norman, BSc Nutritional Sciences and Tenille Sonnichsen, RD

Do you want to improve your health, reduce your environmental footprint, and save money? Consider adding some plant based proteins to your diet!

Did you know that protein provides our bodies with the building blocks for muscle, bone, and blood, promotes wound healing, and helps create hormones and enzymes? Our bodies can do all this with plant proteins!

Keep reading to learn more about plant proteins and easy ways to incorporate them into your diet!


Legumes are a broad category and include, but are not limited to: 

  • Beans

  • Chickpeas

  • Lentils

  • Soybeans

Legumes are rich in protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre, and can help with:

  • heart health

  • blood sugar control

  • weight management

Legumes can be soaked and cooked from dry, or can be purchased in cans, making them a convenient and inexpensive way of incorporating plant based proteins into the diet. Cook some rice and vegetables, add some beans, and you’ve got yourself a meal! Find recipes and more information about legumes here

How much protein is in that plant?

Protein per cup (250ml)

Lentils 18.8g

Black Beans 16g

Chickpeas 15.3g

Soybeans are a high-quality protein source, and contain more calcium than other legumes. Some common soy products include tofu, tempeh, and edamame.  

Protein per cup (250ml)

Tempeh 32g



Spotlight on Tempeh: Tempeh is fermented tofu, meaning it contains PROBIOTIC (good) bacteria, and contains more protein and nutrients than tofu with a chewier texture. Try this QUICK and EASY vegan recipe for a way to incorporate tempeh into your diet. 


Whole grains are praised for their fibre content, and some grains provide impressive amounts of protein!

Protein per cup (250 mL)

Buckwheat 23.8g

Spelt 11.3g

Kamut 10.4g

Quinoa 8.6g

Wild Rice 6.9g

Millet 6.4g

Spotlight on Quinoa: Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs from food. It is extremely versatile and will take on the flavour of whatever you’re cooking with it. Check out how to cook quinoa and find some simple recipes here


Excellent for our health, nuts and seeds contain protein, fibre, polyunsaturated fats, zinc, selenium, and other vitamins and minerals, which can help:

  • boost the immune system

  • promote bowel regularity

  • control appetite

  • lower cholesterol

  • control blood sugar

  • and more!

A small handful of nuts or seeds can provide a generous dose of protein and serve as a great snack! 

Protein per ¼ cup (60ml)

Peanut butter 15g

Whole almonds 7.8g

Sunflower seeds 6.2g

Cashews 5.3g

Flax seeds 5.1g

Spotlight on Flax Seeds: Contributing protein, fibre, and essential fatty acids, flax seeds have many potential health benefits. An easy way to add these into the diet is by purchasing ground flaxseeds and sprinkling them on breakfast cereal, oatmeal, or added to yogurt or smoothies. Find out more about flax seeds here

Experimenting with the wide array of plant based proteins is a fantastic and fun way to add more variety to your diet, while reaping the many potential health benefits they offer. Bring on Meatless Monday!  

Please consider sharing this post with anyone who could use a dose of health!

Need help customizing your nutrition needs? Get on the fast track to achieving your goals with the perspective and accountability of a Registered Dietitian today.

Yours in health,



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