I always get asked where to get protein from if people ( especially children! ) don’t consume animal products. And the simple answer is that it is incredibly easy to find a variety of ways to get an abundance of protein from plant based sources.
Protein is so important for children and I think that many children don’t in fact get enough, especially at lunch time when they really need a protein filled lunch to help them get through the last half of the day at school.
Simply put, protein ‘throws a log onto the fire’. It will burn slowly and evenly for a good number of hours, before needing to be replaced.
What are the benefits?
Protein fill us up. Protein has corresponding hormones that coordinate with our brain to switch off our appetite when we have eaten enough.
Protein fills us up. Which is why it is impossible to ‘binge’ eggs, avocados and oats.
Protein is burned as fuel, not stored as fat.
Protein fuels our metabolism.
Where can I find protein?
There’s protein in so many different sources which are readily available and easily accessible..not to mention delicious. My advice would be to try adding at least one of these sources to every meal, which is actually incredibly do-able.
:: Beans and Pulses
Chickpeas (any excuse to eat lots of hummus!)
:: Nuts & Seeds
Chia Seeds (8 months +)
Nut butters (I’m obsessed with almond butter)
Hemp seeds (I love tossing these through a granola, sprinkling them onto smoothies)
:: Protein Powders (Seek professional advice when feeding children commercially bought protein powders)
Hemp Protein (8 months +)
Pea Protein (My favourite- I prefer an unsweetened, organic type, see here).
Spirulina (7 months +)
Brown Rice Protein
Nutritional yeast (Great cheesy flavour! For children 7 months +)
Bee pollen (12 months +)
Tofu (organic and non GMO)
How I get my protein, plant based:
I’m a big breakfast lover. It’s my favourite way to dose up on lots of protein- it gets my metabolism into gear. In the morning, I normally add an organic, unsweetened pea protein powder, spinach and chia seeds to my smoothies ( along with banana, berries or coconut water to sweeten the smoothie ). If I make something hot I love a nourishing bowl of porridge or a homemade granola topped with coconut yoghurt or a good quality full-fat biodynamic yoghurt and some berries. I also absolutely adore quinoa, either served as a porridge cooked in coconut milk ( delicious ) or served as a granola ( see here for the recipe- a total winner ). I also love chia puddings. My latest summer chia pudding can be found here.
For lunch and dinner I usually have a curry or a stew cooked with beans ( red kidney beans, chickpeas or lentils ) with lots of vegetables ( lots of leafy greens wilted through such as kale and spinach ). Or else I love a big green salad with wilted kale, quinoa, and roasted sweet potato. I usually add a handful of edamame beans and throw a handful of nuts and seeds in for extra crunch ( and protein ).
I’m not a big snack-er but if I do feel peckish for a snack I might eat some homemade hummus with a side of raw vegetables ( I love cucumber and carrot ), or sip on a miso soup if I need something warming ( I buy some really good quality organic miso sachets- so easy and practical ). Often I eat a handful of almonds ( or cashew- literally addicted ), which I eat raw or pulse into a nut butter and either eat from the jar ( you have to be careful here! ) or slather onto a rice cake ( this was my sugar detox 3pm afternoon saviour! ).
For dessert which I love to eat ( it’s my second favourite meal of the day, aside from breakfast! ), I really enjoy eating bliss balls with lots of nuts and chia seeds. See here for my energy bliss balls. Or else I might munch on a small piece of one of my favourite raw cheesecakes. See here for my current favourite: salted caramel cheesecake.
I hope it shows this article shows you that it really is easier than you think to get enough protein through plant based sources. And it really is easy for children too, to get a lot of protein from many plant based sources. Try some of the suggestions out next time you prepare lunches and quickly you will notice your children’s energy soar. If you have any other great tips or protein sources, please comment below.
Feature image thanks to @natdeague