As an omnivore, a majority of your daily protein intake is likely to come from animal sources. Whether that may be beef, chicken, eggs or dairy, we tend to gravitate towards these types of foods to get our protein fix. However, plant based sources of protein may often be overlooked. Some leafy greens, legumes, soy products and whole grains are plant based protein powerhouses. For example, 1 cup of cooked lentils contain over 16 grams of protein and 1 cup of chickpeas contain about 15 grams. One of the main nutritional differences between animal and plant-based protein sources in the amino acid profile. Whereas animal protein sources are considered complete, because they contain all 9 essential amino acids, most plant-based protein sources are incomplete. That being said, it is important to pair incomplete proteins together to ensure that all 9 essential amino acids are represented in that meal. Pairing rice with beans, whole grain toast with nut butter and a spinach salad with nuts or seeds will make a complete protein.
While I am not vegan or vegetarian, some days I enjoy eating this way. I realize that I am not perfect and am still learning how to incorporate complete plant based protein into my daily meals. As plant-based diets have gained popularity in recent years and more people are becoming interested in leading this lifestyle, I wanted to share some meal ideas as inspiration for both the seasoned plant-based eaters and those who are looking for a place to start.
Check out my full day of plant-based eating!
- 3 small slices of sourdough bread
- 3/4 cup @lovvelavva Plant Milk
- 1 tsp cinnamon ⠀
- 1 tsp maple syrup ⠀
- 1 tbsp milled flaxseed⠀
- @lovvelavva Molten Lavva
- ½ cup raspberries
In many vegan baking recipes, flaxseeds can be used to replace the egg. Flaxseeds are nutrient dense, contain omega-3 fats and dietary fiber.
The texture and fluffiness of this french toast is incredible! Not to mention the flavor contrast between the sweet chocolate and bitter raspberries is unreal. Definitely make this recipe any day of the week, there’s no need to wait until Sunday brunch to treat yourself.
First, combine the milk, cinnamon, maple syrup & flaxseed in a large bowl. Coat both sides of each side of bread in the mixture and fry in a lightly sprayed pan (I use coconut oil spray). Fry each side of the slices until they’re golden brown & develop a crispy crust. Spread a layer of @lovvelavva Molten Lavva on the first slice & smash warm raspberries on top. Repeat this step on the second and third slice. Add a drizzle of maple syrup & a sprinkle of cacao nibs. Enjoy!
- 1 serving Banza Chickpea Pasta
- ½ sliced red bell pepper
- ½ cup frozen broccoli
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt & pepper to taste
Chickpea pasta is my favorite plant-based food item. It’s just like regular, flour pasta, but contains more protein, fiber and is easy to whip up into a gorgeous meal!
First, boil a pot of water to prepare the chickpea pasta. The pasta should take about 10-12 minutes to fully cook. About halfway through, toss in the broccoli and red bell pepper. This way the veggies and pasta are ready at the same time and there’s less clean up! Drain the pasta and steamed vegetables and pour into a bowl. Top the bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic powder, a pinch of red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Enoy!
- 1 @strongroots Kale & Quinoa burger
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- ⅓ cucumber
- ½ cup chickpeas
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 1 spoonful tahini
- Pinch of paprika
Zoodles are my latest obsession. They’re super easy and fun to prepare and I love adding them to any bowl to add some volume.
Pro tip: Get yourself a hand cranking spiralizer (I bought mine on Amazon).
First, preheat your oven to 400F and place the quinoa burger on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake the burger for 15-20 minutes. As the burger bakes, start to prepare the vegetables. Fill a large bowl with spinach, chopped cucumber and chickpeas. Chop both ends of the zucchini off and place the zucchini in the spiralizer. Crank the handle and let the gorgeous zoodle spirals fall into the bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and a spoonful of tahini over top and add a pinch of paprika. Place the cooked quinoa burger on top of the bed of spinach and enjoy!
Check out my page for more recipe inspiration and be sure to share your plant based eats with me @whatzoeeeats.
About Zoe Gregorace
Zoe Gregorace is currently studying Nutrition Policy at the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and recently graduated from Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and was a proud member of the Tufts Swimming and Diving team (Go Jumbos!). During her 16 year career as a competitive swimmer, she developed a passion for sports nutrition. She enjoys writing on the topic of nutrition, health and wellness and posts her meal creations on her Instagram page @whatzoeeeats. As a former college swimmer, she strives to share recipes and nutrition tips to promote balanced eating and optimize sports performance.