Protein has historically been associated with animals, most notably beef, and many people are obsessed with it. People have finally taken note of ample research that has demonstrated a link between red and processed meat and chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (the largest cause of early deaths).

Plant-based protein sources have demonstrated their superiority to beef: lower BMI, longer lives, and less chronic illnesses. Packed with key vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, and no saturated fat, having a plant-based approach to living can make a massive difference to your life (in terms of length and quality) and is significantly less expensive.

Switching beef for plant-based protein aids your health and the planet. A vegan diet has been shown to save 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, and 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, ultimately providing ample benefits to world hunger, climate change, and global resources. Cattle is especially hard on the environment due to the land and resources used to breed them, as well as the greenhouse gases they emit.

Below are five plant-based protein alternatives to beef which will improve your health, the planet, and your bank balance.


100g of lentils contains 26g of protein, 30% iron, 0g of fat, and 18g of fiber. They're also packed full of magnesium antioxidants, and are especially good for your bones. This is in addition to their delicious taste in a Black Dahl curry.

Cost per serving: $0.10

Hemp Seeds

No, we aren't talking about that type of hemp... A 20g teaspoon of these powerful seeds contains 11g of protein, 9.75g of healthy fats, 14mg of calcium, 1.59 mg of iron, and 140mg of magnesium. A serving also contains 375-545% of your DRI for omega-3s which can make a massive difference for your health.

Cost per serving: $0.34

Chia Seeds

Arguably the best way to gain omegas on a plant-based diet. With a low amount of calories, chia seeds are an extremely nutritious and filled with fiber, magnesium, and phosphorus into the diet, while packing 6g of protein into a 20g teaspoon.

Cost per serving: $0.08

Peas and Rice

Peas are high in protein, antioxidants, and fiber and aid to a feeling of fullness. They’re also great for controlling blood sugar and have numerous anti-cancer properties due to their antioxidant properties. Although high in protein, they’re not a complete protein with all the amino acids. However, combined with rice, this is a complete protein with all the amino acids necessary to the body.

Cost per serving: $0.38 per serving


Arguably one of the best tasting plant-based proteins available, chickpeas are great in a salad or in making hummus.

With 45g of carbs, 15g of protein, and 13g of fiber in one cup they’re an excellent source of energy and keeping one full. Packed with iron, phosphate, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K chickpeas also aid bone health, sleep, and blood pressure.

Cost per serving: $0.25

Comparing these plant-based alternatives to beef which averages at $2.00 per serving, 15g of fat (7g of which is saturated fat), and a strong link to cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions should be convincing enough to make a few simple and easy switches each week.

It is a win-win decision switching over to a plant-based approach to diet: better for health and the environment.

Written by Nicholas Orsini

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