Plant Based Protein - Best Whole Food Sources

Not all of our PP athletes and clients are meat eaters, and each has their own reason for it. Some have allergic reactions or food aversions to meat. Others are being more conscious about their impact on the environment. Others are concerned with the treatment of animals. Whatever their reason, we support them.


Wait… this from the same company who posts tons of high protein, meat on the grill, and animal product recipes?




This may be confusing to some, but any of you who have read our “Don’t Compartmentalize Health and Fitness” articles, will know we work with all sorts of goals from many different walks of life. This also is a great reason to go read our post about whether there is a “Best Diet” or not.


Just as people get annoyed seeing “health nuts” eating the same grilled chicken and rice that bodybuilders “love,” people get annoyed when they see vegans and vegetarians posting salads & swearing by being plant based. So, what’s the middle ground? That will be an individual conversation you can have with our coaches here at PP and will depend on a few factors, but there can easily be a balance.


Some of the biggest concerns we have with our vegan and vegetarian athletes and clients are not getting enough complete proteins and some micronutrient deficiencies (iron, zinc, calcium). So, how do we find these sources of protein for non-meat eaters and make sure they get what they need to improve their health, performance and other goals. That being said, this article will show you 4 great meatless options and 1 recipe showing how to use each:


  • Quinoa – This amazing seed contains every essential amino acid necessary to make a complete protein. This makes it a better source of protein than most others on this list and some meat. Other great benefits include, high dietary fiber, B vitamins and minerals. This makes it a great nutrient dense food that is extremely diverse in its ability to be prepared.


  • Chickpeas – This legume is a protein packed food that most of us know from its use in a great dip, HUMMUS! It is also often used to make falafel. Also high in fiber, iron and phosphorous this food can be used in many ways, to include being rapidly boiled down to a cold salad topping. It is a great and easy way to add extra protein to your diet. There are also chickpea pastas and other easy to cook products harnessing the protein benefits.


Here is the PP - Cookbook Hummus, a great way to have a dip with vegetables and top on other dishes, we highly recommend working this in whenever you can. You can also learn more about the 7 Best Condiments and how they can all be used here. 

  • Tempeh – for any non-vegan or vegetarian readers this might not be familiar. It is similar to tofu, but it is basically a compressed cake of soybeans and grains (wheat and barley usually). The soybeans are fermented to make them easy to work with before compressing them into a firm patty. This is a great meat substitute and most recipes use it as such. The protein is jam packed in this with 15g per serving, so it’s definitely worth trying.


Check out the link below to view the recipe for Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Sweet Potato Sandwiches:


  • Black beans – Black beans are a wonderful protein source that go great with rice and a lot of Central and South American dishes. They can commonly also be found in chili’s, stews, and soups due to how dense and filling they are. They allow for a lot of variation, high protein and fiber with great taste and options.



Try this recipe from our PP - Cookbook for a Vegan Burrito bowl, tons of flavor, vegan friendly (duh) and packed full of plan based protein, this is a crowd favorite. A common adjustment people will make is to add a meat source to it as well, often chicken is shredded and mixed in. 


Hopefully you learned about some more options for plant based protein sources, these can also be great bases to have for your meals to make sure you are hitting your vegetable goals for the day. 


Want more help figuring out the best approach to the food you make and how to top it? Click Here to sign up for Powell Performance coaching! 

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