“Plant-based” continues to be the biggest nutrition buzzword, and I’m thrilled about it because there are SO MANY BENEFITS to including more plants in our diets. Specifically, “plant-based protein” is something that North Americans are striving to get more of, and national nutrition guides are encouraging. This is good news.
From a nutrition perspective, plant-based sources of protein such as beans, lentils, legumes, seeds, and tofu (to name a few) are not only great sources of protein, but they contain fibre, iron, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They’re also low or free from saturated fat, which makes plant-based protein an excellent alternative to meat-based protein. They’re also, in many cases, gentler on the environment, more economical and quick and easy to prepare (which this mom of three appreciates). I’m not suggesting that we eliminate meat from our lives, because I also love a good ol’ steak (I’m Albertan after all), but we DO need to add more plants to our diets.
My favourite source of plant-based protein is–hands down–lentils. They’re easy to throw on top of salad, into baked goods, or to use in as a substitute for ground beef in soups and sauces. I will often use half ground beef and half lentils in things like taco mix, spaghetti sauce and even homemade hamburgers! They also make a great addition to smoothies and baked goods like muffins (as you’ll see below). They’re neutral tasting, so kids (and adults) don’t really notice them, but they add loads of nutrition, and are incredibly versatile.
Cooking or baking with plant-based protein can be a little scary if you’re new to it, but it’s not as hard as you may think. With Canada’s newest Food Guide recommendations encouraging the population to consume more sources of plant-based protein I asked some of my fellow Registered Dietitian’s to share their favourite plant-based protein recipes! And check out my interview at the end of this post for more family-friendly tips about incorporating plant-based protein into your meals! Hope you enjoy!