Beans, Nuts and Seeds
in Your Sports Nutrition Plan

Plant proteins such as beans, nuts and seeds would fit well in your sports nutrition for women plan. These plant proteins are included in the "meat" group (protein group) of the new food pyramid.

  • Are all plant proteins whole foods?

  • Dried beans that are cooked, along with whole nuts and seeds are true to nature. The canned version are more convenient and are not much different in nutrition than those you cook yourself (other than more sodium). Nut butters still provide the natural nutrition, but skip those with trans fats, addeds sweeteners and preservatives.

  • Am I eating enough protein, including plant proteins?

  • The current protein suggestion is 5 ½ ounces of meat protein (see equivalents in plant proteins below) everyday. Your specific needs in grams will vary based on your height, level of training, and if you eat vegetarian or are attempting to lose weight.

  • What is a serving size of plant proteins? In general:

  • Cooked beans: 1/2 cup provides 6 grams protein.
    Nuts and seeds: 1 ounce or 2 Tablespoons provides 6 grams of protein.
    Quinoa: 1 cup cooked provides 8 grams of protein.
    In comparison, 1 ounce of "meat" provides 7 grams of proteins and one cup on non-fat milk provides 8 grams protein.

  • How will plant proteins impact my training?

  • Many plant proteins are a useful source of carbohydrate for energy. The fiber content should be monitored for tolerance around training and performance time. The sodium content of canned foods may help you get the extra sodium needed after training in hot, humid weather. Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein and are a convenient protein snack .

  • How will plant proteins impact my lifetime fitness?

  • Plant proteins are an excellent source of dietary fiber. A woman needs about 25 grams of fiber everyday. Certain fibers aid in digestion, while others help regulate blood cholesterol and blood sugars. Slowly increase your fiber intake over time so your body can adjust to all the benefits without the gassy side-effects.

    Walnuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help decrease inflammation. Another great reason to include plant proteins is that they provide excellent protein without saturated fat and cholesterol (two substances in food that are not heart healthy).

    It's time to set a sports nutrition goal to include beans, nuts or seeds either by ajusting your daily servings, or substituting plant proteins for some animal proteins.

    Check out the Meatless Monday website to get ideas on how to eat more plant proteins.

    Return to Whole Foods in Sports Nutrition