Vary your protein – be more creative

Vary your protein – be more creative

Eat a wider variety of protein foods and choose plant protein sources more often.

Protein is important for lots of different functions in the human body, from muscle and bone growth to producing the hormones and cells needed for our immune system. A healthy diet should include a variety of nutrient-rich protein foods, and including  more plant-based and alternative sources of protein to our diets will benefit our health and the health of the planet.

It’s been advised that we should eat less red and processed meat, for both health and sustainability reasons. Replacing processed or fatty meats with pulses could reduce our saturated fat and salt intake whilst also increasing the amount of fibre in our diet. We do not have to exclude animal foods – just try to swap some for pulses (beans, peas, and lentils), nuts, seeds, tofu, and soya or mycoprotein-based meat alternatives (e.g. vegetarian mince). Checking food labels can help us choose those foods lower in saturated fat and salt. 

Some quick ways to add plant-based protein to your meals: 

  • Breakfast: Sprinkle a small handful (20g) of sunflower or pumpkin seeds on whole grain breakfast cereal 
  • Lunch: 200g baked beans (with reduced sugar and salt) on wholemeal toast 
  • Snacks: 2 tablespoons of reduced fat humous with oatcakes, or a small handful (20g) of plain unsalted nuts
  • Dinner: 120g lentils in a curry 

Top tips 

Be creative with beans, peas, and lentils: 

  • Add pulses like beans, chickpeas, and lentils to your dishes – canned varieties with no added salt are an affordable and convenient protein source
  • Have a salad for lunch based around different pulses, like mixed beans or green lentils
  • Chickpeas make great snacks – think falafel, roasted chickpeas, or reduced fat hummus


Go half and half with meat – or go all the way if you want to try a completely meat-free meal:

  • Try halving the meat in dishes like bolognese, curries, stews, or stir-fries and replace with a plant source of protein like beans, pulses, tofu, soya mince or mycoprotein-based meat alternative
  • Swap chicken for chickpeas, lamb for lentils, and beef for beans


Consider the pennies: 

  • Eat more oats – oats are an affordable cereal that are higher in protein than other grains. Add oats as a thickener to soups and stews, add to a crumble topping or be adventurous and try an oat ‘risotto’
  • Use canned or frozen fish instead of fresh. Remember to choose sustainable varieties and canned fish in spring water rather than oil. 
  • Canned mixed beans are a great addition to a salad for extra protein
  • Jacket potatoes can be an affordable, quick, and easy meal option – especially if cooked in a microwave


Use Spoon Guru’s Nutrition Intelligence Technology

  • Our High Protein and Source of Protein TAGs help grocery shoppers to quickly and easily find a wider variety of protein sources outside (or inside) of the meat aisle.
  • Implement TAGs as part of the product discovery journey either online through search & filter, or as shelf-edge labels on appropriate products. Of course Protein TAGs also work well in combination with any number of other dietary TAGs such as ‘Vegan’, ‘Halal’ or ‘Source of Fibre’, as well as Sustainability TAGs.

To find out more about how Spoon Guru can help your customers easily eat more healthily and find products that fit their dietary needs, contact our team today.

Information from British Nutrition Foundation Healthy Eating Week 2023 Resource.


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Sarah Rosca