For anyone trying to lose weight, a high-protein diet may be the best way to go. Proteins are the building blocks of life and directly tied to the body’s ability to develop and maintain muscle – an essential component to long-term weight maintenance. But not all proteins are made alike. To lose weight, you’ll want to stick with foods that offer protein without the fat, often known as “lean proteins.” If you are a meat eater, stick with low-fat selections of chicken, turkey, and fish. If you bend more towards the vegetarian lifestyle, you can still get your proteins through plant-based foods, which also come along with a healthy dose of fiber to help keep you feeling full. Here are five ideas for you to consider as part of your protein-packed plant-based meals:
This rice-like food has it going on. A one cup serving packs in 8 grams of protein, and is a great source of fiber, calcium, and phosphorous. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids the body needs for developing and maintaining muscle.
Try these recipes with quinoa:
Rosemary Chicken with Mango-Cucumber Quinoa
Salmon in a Pouch with Quinoa
Tofu is a health food powerhouse. Besides being an excellent source of iron and calcium, a half-cup serving of tofu delivers 10 grams of protein. It’s hard to get tired of eating tofu when you can flavor the taste of it any way you like.
Try these recipes with tofu:
Tofu-Vegetable Stir-Fry in Peanut Sauce
Spicy Asian Tofu with String Beans
Curried Tofu and Tomatoes over Brown Rice
Beans simply don’t get enough of the credit they rightfully deserve. These foods are high in both fiber and Omega-3s (the “good” fat), and can have anywhere between 8 to 30 grams of protein in a half cup serving size! This super-food can easily complement a meal, or be served as the main course.
Try these recipes with beans:
Super Six-Layer Burrito
Cheesy Rice and Beans
Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado
It’s time the brown bag lunch from the elementary school makes a comeback. Peanut butter has 17 grams of protein and healthy helping of both carbs and dietary fiber. You really can’t go wrong with this classic.
Try this recipe with peanut butter:
Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich with Sweet Apples
Whether you’re eating on the cob or on a plate, corn packs a surprisingly serious protein punch. This nutrient-dense food is also rich in hunger quenching fiber and vitamin B-6. Corn’s impressive resume makes it a must-have for weight-loss.
Try this recipe with corn:
Summer Corn Chowder
As always, with any food, remember to keep portion sizes in check, especially when trying to lose weight. By incorporating these plant-based foods into your meal plan, you can be assured that each of these calories you do take in offers the nutrition and protein you need to stay satisfied with your weight loss progress.