Dietary proteins are some of the most essential nutrients one can get as they are the building blocks of the human body, in addition to being a source of fuel for it. They are located throughout the body and can be found in cells, organs, skin, eyes and hair.
Why are they important for the human body? Proteins are mainly used for energy, maintenance and growth of different parts of the body, especially the muscles. There are many food sources that are complete proteins, which is when foods have all the nine essential amino acids. Major sources of complete proteins are usually animal-based foods, such as dairy, eggs, and beef.
However, vegans and vegetarians are not to be left behind as quinoa, buckwheat, soybeans, hemp seeds, and algae are some of the few sources of complete proteins that fit their dietary needs.
High-protein nuts and seeds
Consuming nuts offers many benefits, and they are vegetarian and vegan friendly. People who want to consume plant-based proteins as part of their diet should consider eating nuts. They are highly nutritious, loaded with antioxidants, help in effective management of weight, and may lower triglycerides in addition to being fun, tasty, and convenient to eat.
Of course, the versatility of nuts allows different dietary practices, including vegetarian, vegan and meat eaters, to incorporate them in a multitude of ways into their healthy balanced diet.
A blog from Chef Works summarizes the different ways nuts can be added to one’s diet, some of which are:
- Breading chicken or fish: Nuts can be used as a breading in one’s favorite chicken or fish recipe. Grind the nuts to a fine powder and mix it with seasonings of choice to elevate that fish or chicken dish. One can also add the finely ground nuts to breadcrumbs to make the recipe crunchier and, more importantly, healthier. Word of caution for consumers who want to incorporate nuts into their recipe that is fried; use raw nuts and not roasted nuts as the latter can increase the greasiness of the texture. Seeds can also be used for breading.
- Crust: Almonds, walnuts, and cashews are excellent choices for making pie or tart crusts. Grind them into a fine powder and press it into the pie pan. This method can be used on sweet dishes such as cheesecakes and savory dishes such as quiches.
- Nut Butters: One of the most popular nut butters in the United States is the peanut butter. However, cashews, almonds and even pecans are excellent alternatives for nut butters, while sunflower seeds are an allergy-free option. To make the nut butter, put the nuts in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add oil if almonds are the choice of nuts as they are on the drier side and the oil will help create a smooth final product. Sea salt, vanilla and cinnamon can add some flavor to the nut butter. For those looking to make nut butters as healthy as possible, it is recommended using raw nuts instead of roasted nuts.
- Smoothie: Nuts make an excellent, tasty addition to homemade smoothies! Using nut butter, nut milk, or even chopped nuts as a topping will elevate the flavor and nutrition profile.
- Milk: Making nut milk is extremely easy and requires very little preparation. Add water-soaked nuts of choice to cold water in a blender and blend it until liquified. Strain the resulting mixture in a cheesecloth to filter out the solid remnants. To make it even tastier add cinnamon, vanilla extract or honey. While almond is the top choice, milk can be made using most nuts and seeds depending on individual taste.
While the above are some of the different ways one can incorporate nuts in their daily recipes, the below is a list of nuts that are rich in protein include:
There are other nuts and seeds that are high in protein that can be incorporated in a healthy, balanced diet such as sesame seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts and more, and these can be found on Olam’s Edible Nuts’ website.
Protein recipes with nuts and seeds
It’s a myth that people need to choose either healthy foods or flavorful options when picking a healthy snack, but these upcoming recipes prove that wrong!.
No bake maple vanilla latte protein bites: The name of the dish might be a mouthful, it will surely delight one’s taste buds. This recipe from Cotter Crunch, which contains nuts in multiple forms, ticks all the right boxes such as being gluten free, grain free, and easy to make. It has crushed nuts, nut butter, nut milk, and more included in the ingredients. These protein bites are an easy snack recipe, and since they take only 10 minutes to make are an excellent option for a great breakfast on the go.
No-bake energy bites: Gimme Some Oven has incorporated chia seeds and creamy peanut butter in this feel-good recipe that is irresistibly delicious, and it is easy to make with the simplest of pantry ingredients. The recipe is versatile enough to be made into an energy bar. The best part of this snack? It can be stored in a freezer for up to three months.
Trail Mix: Trail mixes have been a popular snack for quite some time, and it's no surprise why - they are healthy, keep you satiated, are fun to eat and most importantly are easy to prepare. For the nuts component in the trail mix, make almond the hero of the composition as its glycemic index is rated at 0! Add in some peanuts (unsalted), walnuts and cashews and the nuts box is ticked. To add some crunch to the mix incorporate sesame sticks or pretzels. Add a burst of flavour with dark chocolate chips or/and raisins to complete the mix.
Classic green smoothie: Takes less than five minutes to make, this power packed smoothie helps one cool down while giving them some much-required protein. Mix 1 cup (250ml) almond milk, 1 cup kale leaves (destemmed), chopped frozen banana pieces, 1 tablespoon almond butter (or peanut butter), chia seeds, cinnamon (pinch), 1 scoop protein power (optional), ice cubes (as required) in a blender and blend it until smooth.
Shake & Go peanut oats: This recipe from Two Green Peas involves sleeping! This overnight recipe, that also has bananas, has chia seeds, nut milk and peanut butter. The biggest perk of this recipe is that it is equally at home as a snack or a breakfast.
Peanut butter oatmeal smoothie: A different smoothie but the same technique! Blend ¼ cup oats, 2 tablespoon peanut butter, 1 banana chopped, ½ cup soy milk in a blender until smooth. Incorporate ice cubes to turn down the temperature.