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A Dietitian’s Favorite Plant-Based Protein

Lentils

When picking a source of protein, Club Fx Pillar 4 recommends choosing plants before fish before fowl before grass-fed beef.

In the video above, Heinen’s seafood merchandiser Marty Gaul debunks two popular myths concerning sustainability and affordability of seafood. Be sure to check it out! If you’re looking for a delicious, nutritious, and inexpensive seafood recipe, this Garlic Lemon Butter Tilapia is perfect and will be on the table in less than 30 minutes!

In this post I’ll be sharing my favorite plant-based protein, along with a recipe that will surprise and delight even your most steadfast meat-eating guests this holiday season.

Lentils

Lentils are ancient (I’m talking 7000 BC!) edible legumes known for their lens-shape. They are an attractive option for quick and healthy meals because unlike dry beans, lentils require no soaking and are ready in 15-20 minutes.

An excellent source of protein and iron, lentils function beautifully as a meat replacement in vegetarian recipes. 

You can find them in brown, green (French lentils), yellow, black, and red varieties, however the texture is not the same across the board. When cooked, brown, green and black lentils are firm, while red and yellow are soft and work well in blended recipes like soups, chili, veggie burgers, dips, and spreads.

Because they are so rich in fiber, lentils help fill you up and stabilize your blood sugar. This in turn can support a more balanced mood. This legume also offers a generous amount of folate, a B-vitamin which can support the prevention of mood disorders.

How to Enjoy Lentils

To ensure these powerhouses are a regular part of my meals, I like to boil up an entire bag of lentils on Sunday and refrigerate them in a sealed container. Throughout the week I add them to:

  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Tuna fish or egg salad
  • Rice and pasta dishes
  • Omelets
  • Stuffed sweet potatoes

One of my favorite ways to enjoy lentils is in plant-based burgers. I used to make my own until I stumbled across the NoBull burger. This high-quality, gluten-free veggie burger is made with real, whole food, Club Fx-approved ingredients like lentils, brown rice, carrots, onions, spinach, quinoa, and chia seeds. It’s great on a sprouted bun with a slice of Violife dairy-free cheese. Look for it in the frozen department at your local Heinen’s.

Is there a vegetarian on your guest list this holiday season? Imagine the smile on their face when you serve these Plant-Based Stuffed Peppers as one of the main courses. Stuffed with NoBull burgers, quinoa, and sautéed onions, this dish is satisfying, nutritious, and delicious! I like to serve it over a bed of roasted veggies.

Food for Thought …

When shopping for plant-based protein, don’t forget to scan the food label to make sure you’re buying a product made from whole food ingredients. Generally, a short ingredient list is best. Beans, lentils, tempeh (a fermented soy product found in Heinen’s meat department), tofu, and quinoa are all good examples. Products with longer lists of ingredients may be OK too, just make sure you can identify (and pronounce) each one!

Melanie Jatsek
By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD
Heinen's Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek, RD, LD believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. As a publlished author with over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking, Melanie offers expert guidance through Heinen's Club Fx program to help customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in without giving up their favorite foods.

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