Everyday could be Earth Day by including sustainable, plant-based proteins in your diet! Here are three great options that you should consider:
If you are looking for an affordable, filling and delicious source of plant-based protein then look no further. Black beans, in addition to being a great source of protein, are high in dietary fiber and a great addition to any salad, rice bowl, soup or stew! No time to cook? No problem. There are great pre-made salads on the market like Cedar’s Mediterranean Hummus black bean salad or Joseph’s Mediterranean Cuisine’s black bean salad.
Have you ever wondered how quinoa acquired its “health halo”? Quinoa is a gluten-free carbohydrate, a complete protein (meaning it contains all the essential amino acids) and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Each of these characteristics makes quinoa a fantastic choice when searching the aisles of the grocery store for a plant-based protein. Fun fact about quinoa: It’s actually more closely related to beets than to rice!
Algae is one of the most potent super foods on the planet with more than 40 vitamins and minerals, all the amino acids, and zero net carbohydrates. It has been consumed in Japan for more than 50 years, however, it is not as well known here in the U.S. Luckily for us, that’s about to change. Boston-based ENERGYbits is on a mission to make algae more accessible and widely known here. The company has innovatively put algae into tablet form, providing an easy way to eat your greens.
Algae is one of the most sustainable forms of protein available. In fact, spirulina (the blue-green rising star of the algae world) is 64% protein in composition. Compare that to chicken, which is 25% protein, and you’ll understand just how powerful algae can be for both our bodies and our planet. Another fun fact: growing algae requires one-fifth the water of other crops, making it one of the most sustainably produced crops available. Now that’s something to celebrate this Earth Day!
Samantha Bartholomew, MS, RDN is a Boston-based registered dietitian and Manager of Nutrition Communications at FRESH Communications. When she’s not working, you’ll find her enjoying the Italian food of Boston’s North End or spending time with her family, friends and—of course—her two dogs!