Canada's Food Guide: Let's Talk Protein!.........And Our All-Time Favourite Plant-Based Protein Recipes Round-Up

food guide plate with protein foods sectin circled
The new Food Guide recommends choosing protein-rich foods everyday, and encourages plenty of plant-based proteins (more on this below). Protein foods include meat, eggs, fish, poultry, tofu, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils.

Protein is essential to keep our bodies functioning. It is needed to build and repair muscle, tissue, skin, nails and hair, and to build hormones and enzymes. Protein foods also help fill us up and keep us satisfied between meals, so it's important to have a source of protein at every meal.

Why Increase Plant-Based Protein?

In North America, on average, we get more than enough protein in our diets, with the majority of that protein coming from meat and dairy foods. Yes, meat and dairy are still part of a healthy diet, but there is no doubt benefit to subbing in more plant foods in their place.  Why? Swapping out some animal products for plant ones means you’ll be getting more fibre and less saturated fat, both of which are important for heart health. Plus, plant-based proteins tend to be a little kinder to the environment and your wallet.
Here are some easy ways to eat more protein foods that come from plants:
  1. Make one vegetarian meal per week- or if you already do this, add another!
  2. Add veggies or beans to ground meat (such as taco filling or spaghetti sauce) to help stretch the meat further. My favourites are finely diced mushrooms, zucchini, shredded carrot and lentils.
  3. Add beans or lentils to your homemade soup. I love making a batch of soup to have for lunches through the week, or to freeze and pull out for dinner when you need a quick meal.
  4. Make your own trail mix by combining your favourite whole grain cereal with a handful of nuts and seeds.
  5. Skip the lunch meat and go vegetarian at lunch- try a vegetarian chili, a salad with chickpeas, or spread hummus on the inside of a whole grain pita and fill with vegetables such as romaine lettuce and shredded carrots.
Below are some of our top protein-rich recipes from the blog, with a special focus on plant proteins:

Favourite Protein-Rich Recipes
Best Black Beans Ever
bowl of black beans

Have questions about protein or the new Canada's Food Guide? We'd love to hear from you!
Natalee, RD