Dairy-free diet guide: Dairy-free, stress-free

Dairy-free diet guide: Dairy-free, stress-free

This dairy-free diet guide is intended to help people with a diagnosed intolerence to dairy.

1–2 of every 10 people in the UK are intolerant to lactose, so dairy-free eating is more common than you might think. Plus, whether it’s down to skin flare-ups, going plant-based or a simple personal preference, many are choosing to ditch dairy for alternative reasons.

Whatever has brought you here, you’ll be pleased to hear that a dairy-free diet can be healthy, nutritious and delicious to boot. With a bit of dairy-free know-how, you can easily fill the pint-sized nutrient gap!

Here’s exactly how to eat dairy-free, including a dairy-free foods list, must-know from this website https://bombaysandwichco.com/‘s tips to get started and all things dairy-free nutrition.

What is a dairy-free diet?

A dairy-free diet includes avoiding all or most dairy products including milk, butter, yoghurt, cheese, cream and ice cream. Unlike a vegan or plant-based diet, a dairy-free still includes other animal products, such as meat, fish and eggs.

If you’re on a very strict dairy-free die or have a dairy allergy or intolerance to lactose, you might need to avoid all products containing milk, even in small or trace amounts.

Some products that do not contain milk as an intentional ingredient may have been made within a production facility that handles dairy, which can leave a small risk of cross-contamination.

Dairy-free diet guide: Dairy-free, stress-free

Is a dairy-free diet healthy?

A dairy-free diet can be very healthy. While dairy products can be healthy and nutritious, they’re not essential.

The nutrients in dairy foods, such as protein, calcium and vitamin D, can be found in numerous other foods. However, if you’ve been used to a dairy-heavy diet, you will need to ensure that you fill in the gaps with the appropriate non-dairy foods to avoid nutritional deficiencies.

While many people do see positive effects after eliminating dairy from their diet, that doesn’t make dairy products inherently unhealthy. Dairy affects each person individually. Those who can tolerate dairy don’t need to cut it out; unless the motivation is ethical, of course. In moderation, minimally-processed dairy products are very nutritious.

Ultimately, with the exception of intolerances and allergies, deciding whether to eat dairy or ditch dairy is a personal choice. Thankfully, a healthy and balanced diet is possible either way.

For a deeper insight into dairy vs dairy-free, we’d recommend reading ‘Dairy: Is it good or bad for you?’ by Precision Nutrition.

Dairy-free diet benefits

Dairy-free diets can bring both health and environmental benefits:

  • Gastrointestinal relief: Lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy? Eliminating lactose from your diet will help to eliminate your gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea and nausea.
  • Clearer and calmer skin: If you’re struggling with acne or another inflammatory skin condition, you may find that your symptoms slowly decrease after cutting out dairy (Diet and Dermatology, 2014).
  • Lower risk of some cancers: Observational studies indicate that a dairy-free diet can reduce the risk of prostate and ovarian cancer. However, it’s also important to consider that eating dairy is believed to have protective effects against colorectal and breast cancer.
  • Decreased inflammation: Dairy products have been shown to cause inflammation, which in turn, may help to decrease the risk of chronic disease.
  • Reduced environmental impact: Eliminating or reducing the amount of dairy in your diet can significantly reduce your impact on the environment. This is because dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change (WWF).

Dairy-free diet risks

A well-planned dairy-free diet can be healthy. However, if you do not seek out the appropriate food sources to replace the nutrients found in dairy, you could be at risk of a nutritional deficiency.

Below, we cover 4 key nutrients found in dairy products and how you can make sure you’re still getting enough on a dairy-free diet.

Protein on a dairy-free diet

Cow’s milk, which was likely a huge part of your pre-dairy-free-diet, is a fantastic source of protein. A single glass contains all of the amino acids your body for cell repair and renewal. As you’ll be cutting out milk and products which contain milk entirely, you might need to increase the amount of non-dairy protein foods in your everyday diet.

The good news is that there are plenty of nutritious dairy-free protein sources to enjoy, including:

Dairy-free protein sources

  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Fish

Vegan protein sources

  • Tofu & tempeh
  • Beans & legumes
  • Nuts & seeds

Aim to include a generous dairy-free protein source with every meal and you should have no problems filling in that pint-sized protein gap.

If you lead a particularly busy lifestyle and feel concerned about missing out on protein whilst switching to a dairy-free diet, try a dairy-free protein powder like Purition. Every serving contains 15–20g of dairy-free protein from seeds, nuts and European-grown plant protein for a helpful protein boost whilst adapting to a dairy-free diet.

Calcium on a dairy-free diet

Dairy products also contain high amounts of calcium, which:

  • Forms teeth and bones
  • Regulates nerve impulse transmissions
  • Regulates muscle contractions
  • Regulates hormone secretions

A calcium deficiency can lead to low bone mineral density and a significantly increased risk of osteoporosis.

Therefore, if you switch to a dairy-free diet, it’s important to find a way to replace the lost calcium from the dairy products you were consuming. The good news? While dairy is an excellent source of calcium, it’s not the only source of calcium.

The recommended daily calcium intake for healthy adults in the UK is 700mg. Take a look at the following non-dairy calcium-rich foods list, to see how you can reach this level without consuming dairy.

Whitebait  Average portion – 80g  688
Tofu Average portion – 100g  100–500*
Tinned sardines ½ tin – 60g 300
Fortified oat milk ⅓ pint – 200ml  240
Fortified soy milk ⅓ pint – 200ml 178
Fortified soy yoghurt Small pot – 125g 150
Okra Medium portion – 60g 132
Fortified rice milk ⅓ pint – 200ml 130
Tahini 1 teaspoon – 19g 130
Salmon Medium portion – 100g 91
Kale  Medium portion – 60g 90
Tinned pilchards Average portion – 110g 75
Sesame seeds 1 tablespoon – 12g 80
Spinach (boiled)  1 tablespoon – 40g  64
Chickpeas 1 tablespoon – 35g 56
Broccoli Medium portion – 85g 34
Almonds  Whole – 13g  31

Iodine on a dairy-free diet

Cow’s milk is a key source of iodine, with a single glass providing almost half of the recommended daily intake. However, it’s not actually a naturally-occurring vitamin in dairy. It actually arises from the iodine supplements used in cattle feed, as well as iodine-containing disinfectants used to sterilise milking tools.

Iodine is used by the body make thyroid hormones, which help to keep your metabolism in check and your brain and bones healthy, amongst many other important functions.

The best dairy-free sources of iodine include eggs, seafood, seaweed, potatoes and strawberries.

Vitamin B12 on a dairy-free diet

Cows milk is also chockablock with vitamin B12, which:

  • Protects the nervous system
  • Makes DNA
  • Makes red blood cells

If you’re aiming to cut out dairy but will still consume meat, fish and eggs, you’re unlikely to run into any problems in getting enough B12. However, if you choose to go vegan, gaining B12 can be tricky, as it’s mainly found in animal-derived foods.

The best vegan sources of vitamin B12 include nutritional yeast, marmite, spirulina, fortified dairy-free milk and yoghurt. You’ll need to make a point of including a selection of these foods in your daily diet and/or purchasing a good-quality B12 supplement.

What can you eat on a dairy-free diet?

The thought of cutting out your most-loved dairy products might seem difficult, but a dairy-free diet is much easier than you think. There are so many naturally dairy-free foods, alongside a fast-growing range of dairy-free alternatives. While it might take some getting used to, you’ll never feel deprived.

While it’d be impossible to list every single dairy and non-dairy food on the planet, here’s a list of the basic food items you can eat, and what you’ll need to avoid, on a dairy-free diet.

Dairy-free foods to eat

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat & poultry
  • Fish & seafood
  • Eggs
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Soy products, such as tofu and tempeh
  • Beans & legumes
  • Whole grains, such as quinoa and couscous
  • Healthy fats, such as olive and coconut oil
  • Herbs & spices
  • Dark chocolate (double check for milk)
  • Dairy-free alternatives, such as nut milk, cream, cheese and yoghurt
  • Purition Vegan

Foods to avoid 

  • Milk (try almond, oat or coconut)
  • Condensed milk
  • Cheese
  • Butter & margarine
  • Buttermilk
  • Greek yoghurt (try coconut)
  • Ice cream (try vegan alternatives)
  • Sour cream
  • Whipped cream
  • Custard
  • Milk & white chocolate (try dark)
  • Creamers
  • Whey protein

Foods to double-check

As milk is a key allergen, it must be emphasised within the ingredients list of prepacked food or drink by law. In the UK, you’ll find that most products emphasise any milk ingredients using a bold font.

When it comes to dairy-free foods, some products aren’t so black-and-white. Many unexpected processed foods contain small amounts of milk. You’ll need to make a habit of checking labels when you begin your dairy-free diet, especially if you’re lactose intolerant or have an allergy.

The following products are hit and miss when it comes to dairy-free foods, so remember to check the label before you purchase them:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Margarine
  • Dark chocolate
  • Salad dressings
  • Soup mixes
  • Cakes & biscuits
  • Crackers
  • Sweets
  • Cereals
  • Processed meat
  • Cold cuts
  • Frozen puddings
  • Pastries
  • Crisps
  • Rice pudding

Keep in mind that processed foods, such as breaded meat and seafood, sometimes contain dairy. Focus on unprocessed foods where possible and if you do opt for something processed, make sure to double-check labels.

Know your dairy-free labels

Not all lactose and dairy ingredients will fall under the simple name of ‘milk’ or ‘cheese’. If you’re strictly dairy-free or have a serious intolerance, getting clued up on labels is an essential part of learning how to go dairy-free.

You’ll want to keep a close eye out for the following ingredients, as they are all made from milk:

  • Ghee
  • Casein (curds), caseinates
  • Calcium or sodium caseinate 
  • Hydrolysed casein
  • Hydrolysed whey protein
  • Lactoglobulin
  • Lactoalbumin
  • Lactose
  • Whey, whey solids, hydrolysed whey

Is chocolate dairy-free?

Pure chocolate is dairy-free. It’s typically made with cocoa powder, sugar and cocoa butter (the fatty portion of the cacao bean), which are all naturally free from dairy.

However, the majority of manufacturers add milk, milk powder or butter oil to their chocolate bars. This is especially the case with milk and white chocolate, which generally isn’t dairy-free.

But you won’t have to have to go without chocolate on a dairy-free diet. Dark and plain chocolates are often free from dairy – just make sure to check the label, as some products do contain small amounts of milk.

There are a growing number of vegan and free-from chocolate bars available, which are completely free from milk and dairy. These may be the safest choice for anyone with a strict dairy allergy or intolerance as there is no risk of cross-contamination.

Are eggs dairy-free?

Eggs are not a dairy product. By definition, dairy products are made from or contain the milk of mammals. In contrast, eggs are laid by birds. Birds are not mammals and they do not produce milk.

Eggs are often mistakenly lumped into the dairy category because they’re stored beside each other in shops and supermarkets. However, you can still eat eggs on a dairy-free diet, as they’re simply not dairy.

The only exception to this would be if you wanted to go vegan, as you’d then avoid all animal and animal by-products, including eggs.

Dairy-free protein powder

Wondering what the deal is with protein powders on a dairy-free diet? Protein powders are traditionally made with whey, which is a by-product of the cheese-making process. This means whey (for the most part) contains lactose, making whey-based products, such as protein powders, unsuitable for anyone following a strict dairy-free diet.

But whether you’re a gym-goer or simply enjoy the convenience of protein powders, avoiding dairy doesn’t mean missing out. Purition Vegan is 100% plant-based and free from lactose. Made from 70% ground seeds, nuts and a complete plant-based protein blend, one glass provides 15–20g of protein and up to 38% of your calcium RDA, depending on the flavour.

If you have a serious lactose intolerance or milk allergy, you can feel safe in the knowledge that our dairy-free products are made and assembled down a meticulously managed production line within our purpose-built facility, to ensure there is no cross-contamination with milk-products.

How to eat dairy-free: Getting started

Transitioning to a dairy-free diet needn’t be daunting, complicated or intimidating. Here are some extra quick tips to help you make the move smoothly and seamlessly:

1. Plan your meals

If there’s one thing that’ll make going dairy-free difficult, it’s a lack of preparation. If dinner time rolls around and all you’ve got in the fridge is some veg and a block of cheese, it’ll be hard to create a filling and balanced dairy-free meal.

The solution? In the first few weeks or your dairy-free diet, make a point of planning your meals ahead of time. Pick your day, grab some cookbooks or use recipe websites and pick out some dairy-free recipes for the week ahead.

Make a shopping list of each and every ingredient you’ll need to see your meal plan through. This way, you can be sure that you’re fully stocked with everything you need for a healthy, nutritious and delicious week of dairy-free eating.

2. Choose whole foods

During your transition to dairy-free, you’ll be surprised at how many unsuspecting food products actually contain milk. From crisps and crackers to breaded meats and cold cuts, dairy is hidden in many processed and fast food products.

Wholefoods are much less likely to contain hidden dairy derivatives – and they just so happen to be much better for you, too! Cooking with majority whole food ingredients – such as lean meats, fish, legumes, fruits and vegetables – eliminates the worry of accidentally consuming dairy and makes for a highly nutritious diet to boot.

3. Be open minded – try everything!

Let’s be clear – dairy-free milks taste different to cow’s milk. Don’t expect the taste to be the same – with time, your taste buds will adjust and stop expecting the taste of cow’s milk.

There are so many different kinds of dairy-free milks and yoghurts. Oat, coconut, soy, almond, rice, cashew, hemp, hazelnut… we could go on and on!

Be open minded and give as many a try as you can – you’re bound to find that you like some more than others.

4. Opt for vegan meals

Choosing foods or meals labelled ‘vegan’ when you’re out and about is a great way to find some dairy-free gems that you might not otherwise take notice of. You can be sure these are dairy-free, without any fuss or anxiety.

And when you’re cooking at home, vegan and plant-based recipes can be a great source of inspiration. Search for vegan recipes online or purchase some vegan cookbooks. See which ones take your fancy, cook them up and, if you want to, add your choice of lean protein such as chicken or fish.

Even if vegan meals aren’t your thing, you’ll discover some fantastic dairy-free meal ideas by using this trick.

How to go dairy-free

You’re now armed with all the information you’ll need to eat a healthy and balanced dairy-free diet.

The key to a healthy dairy-free diet is to ensure you’re filling the nutrient gaps that dairy previously filled. Thankfully, that’s easily achievable by consuming a wide range of wholefoods. Don’t forget to learn your dairy-free label lingo and give those labels a thorough read, especially if you’re avoiding dairy for medical reasons.

If you’re looking for an easy dairy-free breakfast or protein powder, don’t forget to check out Purition. Our dairy-free whole food blends can be blitzed into a quick shake, mixed into a crunchy yoghurt bowl or blended into nutrient-packed smoothie bowls.

Packed with protein, healthy fats and fibre and completely free from dairy, it might be just what you need for a smooth move to dairy-free!

The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

A common concern about vegetarian and vegan diets is that they may lack sufficient protein. But vegans can get protein from various plant sources, though some may be better than others.

Many experts agree that a well-planned meatless diet can provide all the nutrients you need, including protein.

That said, certain plant foods contain significantly more protein than others, and new and older studies alike suggest that higher protein diets can promote muscle strength, feelings of fullness, and weight loss.

Here are 18 plant foods that contain a high amount of protein per serving.

Benefits and risks of a vegan diet

Plant-based diets have been linked to several health benefits.

Vegan diets may support weight goals, blood pressure, heart health, and more

For starters, vegans tend to have lower body mass indexes (BMI) than non-vegans, which may be associated with lower chronic disease risk in some populations.

In addition, studies suggest that vegan diets are more effective at helping people lose weight than many other diets, including the Mediterranean diet.

A vegan diet has also been linked to a lower risk of cancer. What’s more, it also appears to reduce pain from arthritis and may further reduce your likelihood of experiencing age-related cognitive decline.

Plant-based diets are also linked to several other health benefits, including lower blood pressure, better-regulated blood sugar levels, and a healthier heart.

Because of this, several health organizations recommend increasing the amount of plant-based protein in our diets.

Learn more about potential benefits of plant-based diets in this website https://bombaysandwichco.com/.

Vegan diets may lead to nutritional deficiencies without careful planning

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all vegan diets will be equally beneficial.

While well-planned vegan diets made up of mostly minimally processed foods are considered beneficial for all stages of life, those including large amounts of ultra-processed plant foods are not.

Poorly-planned or highly-processed vegan diets may also increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies, especially in vitamin B12, iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and long-chain omega-3s.

Sprouting, fermenting, and cooking foods in cast-iron cookware can further enhance your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients contained in plant foods.

Minimizing your intake of processed plant foods, while increasing your intake of whole or minimally-processed ones can help reduce the risk of experiencing nutrient deficiencies.

Using supplements and fortified foods to bridge any nutritional gaps can also minimize your risk of experiencing ill effects from a vegan diet.

The 18 Best Protein Sources for Vegans and Vegetarians

Plant versus animal protein

Protein is made up of chains of molecules known as amino acids.

There are 20 amino acids found in nature that your body can use to build protein. Out of these 20 amino acids, 9 are considered essential, which means that your body cannot produce them itself, so you need to get them from your diet.

The remaining 11 are considered non-essential, as your body can produce them from the 9 essential amino acids.

Animal protein contains all nine essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. Plants also contain all nine essential amino acids — however, besides a few exceptions, most typically offer a limited amount of at least one essential amino acid.

For instance, beans, lentils, peas, and many vegetables tend to contain low amounts of cysteine and methionine. On the other hand, grains, nuts, and seeds tend to be low in lysine.

Because of this, many people refer to plant foods as “incomplete” sources of protein.

However, as long as you eat a variety of plant-based proteins, this shouldn’t pose a problem. You can still get sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids your body needs.

1. Seitan

Seitan is a popular protein source for many vegetarians and vegans.

It’s made from gluten, the main protein in wheat. Unlike many soy-based mock meats, it closely resembles the look and texture of meat when cooked.

Also known as wheat meat or wheat gluten, it contains about 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), making it one of the richest plant protein sources available.

Seitan is also a good source of selenium and contains small amounts of iron, calcium, and phosphorus.

You can find this meat alternative in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores, especially at health food stores. You can also make your own version with vital wheat gluten.

Seitan can be pan-fried, sautéed, and even grilled, making it easy to incorporate into a variety of recipes.

However, because it contains wheat, people with gluten-related disorders should avoid eating seitan.

2. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame all originate from soybeans and are especially popular in East Asian cuisine.

Soybeans are considered a whole source of protein. This means that they provide your body all the essential amino acids it needs.

Edamame are immature soybeans with a sweet and slightly grassy taste. They need to be steamed or boiled before you eat them. Then, they can be enjoyed on their own or added to soups, salads, sushi, wraps, stir-fries, or rice rolls.

Tofu is made from bean curds pressed together in a process similar to cheesemaking. Meanwhile, tempeh is made by cooking and slightly fermenting mature soybeans, then pressing them into a block.

Tofu doesn’t have much taste on its own, but it easily absorbs the flavor of the ingredients it’s prepared with. Comparatively, tempeh has a characteristic nutty flavor.

Both tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from burgers to soups, stews, curries, and chilis.

All three soy-based proteins contain iron, calcium, and 12–20 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving.

Edamame is also rich in folate, vitamin K, and fiber, which can help support digestion and regularity.

On the other hand, tempeh contains probiotics, B vitamins, and minerals, such as magnesium and phosphorus.

3. Lentils

With 18 grams of protein per cooked cup (198 grams), lentils are a great source of protein.

They can be used in a variety of dishes, ranging from fresh salads to hearty soups and spice-infused dahls.

Lentils are also a great source of fiber, providing over half of your recommended daily fiber intake in a single cup (198 grams).

Furthermore, the type of fiber found in lentils has been shown to feed the good bacteria in your colon, which can help promote a healthy gut. Lentils may also reduce your chance of heart disease, diabetes, excess body weight, and certain types of cancer.

In addition, lentils are rich in folate, manganese, and iron. They also contain a hearty dose of antioxidants and other health-promoting plant compounds.

Lentils are popular around the globe, and they’re the basis of Indian dishes known as dal or dahl. If you eat South Asian food often, chances are you’re already a fan of lentils.

4. Beans

Kidney, black, pinto, and most other varieties of beans are extremely important staple foods across cultures and contain high amounts of protein per serving.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are another type of bean with a high protein content.

Most types of beans contain about 15 grams of protein per cooked cup (170 grams). They’re also excellent sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, folate, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and several beneficial plant compounds.

Moreover, several studies show that a diet rich in beans and other legumes can help decrease cholesterol levels, manage blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and even reduce belly fat.

Add beans to your diet by making a tasty bowl of homemade chili, or enjoy extra health benefits by sprinkling a dash of turmeric on roasted chickpeas.

5. Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, which is sold commercially as a yellow powder or flakes.

It has a cheesy flavor, which makes it a popular ingredient in dishes like mashed potatoes and scrambled tofu.

Nutritional yeast can also be sprinkled on top of pasta dishes or even enjoyed as a savory topping on popcorn.

Half an ounce (16 grams) of this complete source of plant protein provides 8 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.

Fortified nutritional yeast is also an excellent source of zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and all the B vitamins, including vitamin B12.

However, keep in mind that not all types of nutritional yeast are fortified, so be sure to check the label carefully.

6. Spelt and teff

Spelt and teff belong to a category known as ancient grains. Other ancient grains include einkorn, barley, sorghum, and farro.

Spelt is a type of wheat and contains gluten, whereas teff originates from an annual grass, meaning that it’s naturally gluten-free.

Spelt and teff provide 10–11 grams of protein per cooked cup (250 grams), making them higher in protein than other ancient grains.

Both are excellent sources of various nutrients, including complex carbs, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. They also contain B vitamins, zinc, and selenium.

Spelt and teff are versatile alternatives to other grains, such as wheat and rice, and they can be used in many recipes ranging from baked goods to risotto.

In fact, flour made from teff is the key ingredient in injera, a flatbread commonly eaten in East Africa, such as in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan.

7. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, which is sometimes maligned for belonging to the same family as the cannabis plant.

But hemp seeds contain only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that produces the psychoactive effects of cannabis.

Although hemp seeds aren’t as well-known as other seeds, they contain 9 grams of protein in each 3-tablespoon (30-gram) serving.

Hemp seeds also contain high levels of magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, and selenium. What’s more, they’re a good source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the ratio considered optimal for human health.

Interestingly, some studies indicate that the type of fats found in hemp seeds may help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, menopause, and certain skin conditions.

You can add hemp seeds to your diet by sprinkling some in your smoothie or morning muesli. They can also be used in homemade salad dressings, granola, energy balls, or protein bars.

8. Green peas

Green peas contain nearly 9 grams of protein per cooked cup (160 grams), which is slightly more than a cup (237 mL) of dairy milk.

What’s more, a serving of green peas covers more than 25% of your daily fiber, thiamine, folate, manganese, and vitamin A, C, and K needs.

Green peas are also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and several other B vitamins.

You can use peas in recipes such as pea-and-basil-stuffed ravioli, Thai-inspired pea soup, or pea-and-avocado guacamole.

9. Spirulina

This blue-green algae is definitely a nutritional powerhouse.

A 2-tablespoon (14-gram) serving provides 8 grams of complete protein, in addition to covering 22% of your daily requirements for iron and 95% of your daily copper needs.

Spirulina also contains high amounts of magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, potassium, and small amounts of most of the other nutrients your body needs, including essential fatty acids.

According to some test-tube and animal studies, phycocyanin, a natural pigment found in spirulina, also appears to have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.

Furthermore, studies link consuming spirulina to health benefits ranging from a stronger immune system and reduced blood pressure to improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Still, we need more human studies before we can draw conclusions on all of spirulina’s health claims.

10. Amaranth and quinoa

Although amaranth and quinoa are often referred to as ancient or gluten-free grains, they don’t grow from grasses like other cereal grains do. For this reason, they’re technically considered pseudocereals.

Nevertheless, similarly to more commonly known grains, they can be prepared or ground into flours.

Amaranth and quinoa provide 8–9 grams of protein per cooked cup (185 grams) and are complete sources of protein, which is uncommon among grains and pseudocereals.

Plus, amaranth and quinoa are good sources of complex carbs, fiber, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium.

11. Ezekiel bread and other breads made from sprouted grains

Ezekiel bread is made from organic, sprouted whole grains and legumes. These include wheat, millet, barley, and spelt, as well as soybeans and lentils.

Two slices of Ezekiel bread contain approximately 8 grams of protein, which is slightly more than most other types of bread.

Sprouting grains and legumes increases the number of healthy nutrients they contain and reduces their content of antinutrients, which are compounds that can affect your body’s absorption of certain vitamins and minerals.

In addition, studies show that sprouting increases their content of specific amino acids, such as lysine, which can help boost their overall protein quality.

Similarly, combining grains with legumes could further improve the bread’s amino acid profile.

Sprouting also seems to boost the content of soluble fiber, folate, vitamins C and E, and beta carotene. It may also slightly reduce gluten, which can improve digestion among people with gluten-related disorders.

12. Soy milk

Soy milk is made from soybeans and usually fortified with vitamins and minerals. It can be a great alternative to dairy milk for those who avoid dairy.

Not only does it contain 6 grams of protein per cup (244 mL), it’s also an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

You can purchase soy milk in most supermarkets. It’s an incredibly versatile product that you can drink on its own or use in a variety of cooking and baking recipes.

However, keep in mind that soy milk and soybeans do not naturally contain vitamin B12, so I recommend picking a fortified variety.

Additionally, some types may contain added sugar, so it’s best to opt for unsweetened varieties whenever possible.

13. Oats and oatmeal

Eating oats is an easy and delicious way to add protein to any diet.

Half a cup (40 grams) of dry oats provides approximately 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Oats also contain magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and folate.

Although oats are not considered a complete protein, they do contain higher quality protein than other commonly consumed grains like rice and wheat.

You can use oats in a variety of recipes ranging from oatmeal to veggie burgers. They can also be ground into flour and used for baking.

14. Wild rice

Wild rice contains approximately 1.5 times as much protein as other long-grain rice varieties, including brown rice and basmati.

A cooked cup (164 grams) provides nearly 7 grams of protein, in addition to healthy amounts of fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and B vitamins.

Unlike white rice, wild rice is not stripped of its bran. That’s great from a nutritional perspective, as bran contains fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals.

However, this causes concerns about arsenic, which can accumulate in the bran of rice crops grown in polluted areas.

Arsenic is a toxic compound that’s associated with a variety of health problems, especially when consumed regularly over long periods of time.

Washing wild rice before cooking it and using plenty of water to boil it can significantly reduce levels of arsenic, along with other heavy metals like lead and cadmium.

15. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is native to Mexico and Guatemala.

With 5 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams), chia seeds definitely deserve their spot on the list of top plant-based proteins.

These little seeds contain high levels of iron, calcium, selenium, and magnesium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds.

They’re also incredibly versatile, thanks to their mild taste and ability to absorb water and form a gel-like substance.

This quality makes them an easy addition to a variety of recipes, ranging from smoothies to baked goods to chia pudding.

16. Nuts, nut butters, and other seeds

Nuts, seeds, and their derived products are great sources of protein.

One ounce (28 grams) contains 5–7 grams of protein, depending on the variety.

Nuts and seeds are also great sources of fiber and healthy fats, along with iron, calcium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and certain B vitamins. They likewise contain antioxidants, among other beneficial plant compounds.

When choosing which nuts and seeds to buy, keep in mind that blanching and roasting may damage the nutrients in nuts. Therefore, it’s best to reach for raw, unblanched versions whenever possible.

Also, try opting for natural nut butters to avoid the oil, sugar, and excess salt often added to many popular brands.

17. Protein-rich fruits and vegetables

Although all fruits and vegetables contain protein, some contain more than others.

Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts, which typically contain 4–5 grams of protein per cooked cup.

Although technically a grain, sweet corn is another common food that contains about as much protein as these high protein vegetables.

Fresh fruits generally have a lower protein content than vegetables. Those containing the most include guava, cherimoyas, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines, and bananas, which have about 2–4 grams of protein per cup.

18. Mycoprotein

Mycoprotein is a non-animal-based protein derived from Fusarium venenatum, which is a type of fungus.

It’s often used to produce meat substitutes, including veggie burgers, patties, cutlets, and fillets.

The nutritional value can range a bit depending on the specific product, but most contain 15–16 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, along with 5–8 grams of fiber.

Although there are concerns about the safety of mycoprotein related to food allergies, research shows that adverse reactions are very rare.

However, keep in mind that some products made with mycoprotein may also contain egg whites, so be sure to check the label carefully if you’re following a vegan diet or avoiding eggs for other reasons, such as food allergies.

The bottom line

Protein deficiencies among vegetarians and vegans are uncommon, especially for those following a healthy, well-planned diet.

Still, some people may be interested in increasing their plant protein intake for a variety of reasons.

This list can be used as a guide for anyone interested in incorporating more plant-based proteins into their diet.