8 Surprisingly Protein-packed Plant Foods!

Popeye knew a thing or two when he was guzzling all of that spinach for strength.

There are some plant-foods that actually have loads of protein in them – more than you would have thought! But don't take Popeye's word for it.

Just last month Nutrition Australia introduced its new food pyramid - it encourages a diet of more plants and less meat, which is not only good for your health, but a great and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint too.

Eating plants sounding boring to you? Trust us, it's not. Plant-based eating isn't something that anyone should dread. Some vegetarian recipes out there are seriously delicious, and you won't be missing out on all of the nutrients you need - And we can prove it!

Our top contenders!

1. Amaranth

Ever heard of it? Neither had we, but it contains more protein than any other gluten-free grain! It's also a great source of B vitamins and iron. Use it in breakfast dishes, add to gluten-free baking recipes or even make savoury burger paddies!

2. Artichokes

Artichokes contain 4 grams of protein in just ½ a cup and are a great source of fibre to keep you fuller for longer. You don't have to have them just with meals, either. There are loads of snacks you can use artichokes for - try mixing them up to make creamy dips or blending them into pesto sauces.

3. Chia seeds

Who doesn't love chia seeds these days? They really are a superfood and you can add them to just about anything from smoothies to salads, or chia puddings. As for protein, chia seeds are chockers full of all of the amino acids you need – 5 grams of protein in just 2 tablespoons!

4. Oatmeal

There's a reason why athletes eat this like it's going out of fashion. It's got three times more protein than brown rice and is a better source of fibre and magnesium. It's also the perfect breakfast food for winter, and oh so versatile – you can flavour it any way you want - cinnamon, chocolate, pumpkin… don't let us go on!

5. Spinach

Spinach doesn't have to be a boring food - and with 5 grams of protein per cup, we should try to eat it more often anyway! It's a perfect food to sneak into winter dishes – try adding it to your favourite lasagne recipe or mix it into your next vegetable pie.

6. Tahini

The wonder spread! It's right up there with peanut butter, but has a more savoury texture that works well with salad dressings and dips. With 8 grams of protein in two tablespoons you don't even need that much of it (though it's so tasty you'll probably want to eat more of it than just that!)

7. Soy milk

Whether you love it or hate it, soy milk can be part of a healthy diet if bought organic and non-GMO. It's got 8 grams of protein per cup, and you can use it in smoothies, cakes and hot drinks like our winter chai recipe.

8. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are a complete protein! They are a true winner on our list, packing 13 grams in only three tablespoons. You can find them at your local health food store, and are a great addition to salads, breakfast cereals or raw deserts.

[Image: The Mind Unleashed]

Looks like Popeye wasn't such a hungry fool after all – plants are where the real strength is! But while protein is important, rather than obsessing over it why not focus on eating a sustainable and varied diet day to day.

What you can do

​Eat more plants.

​Challenge yourself and give a plant-strong lifestyle a go!

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Shannyn Warren Past Staff Writing Intern Suggest an article Send us an email

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