If you are on a vegan diet or just thinking about transitioning to a plant-based diet, one of the nutrients you need to focus on is your protein. Many people on standard diets will get most of their protein from meat and dairy, but that doesn’t mean they are your only options! A lot of healthy, vegan food has all the protein you need each day.
First up, you have your lentils. Lentils, beans, and legumes are popular options on a plant-based diet, since they provide a lot of nutrients you might be missing from your new vegan diet. Lentils are an amazing source of protein, with about 8.84 grams of protein for just ½ cup. If you have a cup or more, or combine them in a bowl with other protein-rich foods, you have yourself a protein-dense meal. As an added benefit, lentils will also provide you with iron, fiber, and potassium.
A similar protein source is chickpeas. In fact, it is not uncommon to have a bowl or dish with chickpeas and lentils, along with other beans and legumes, and lots of healthy vegetables, and maybe even some nuts and seeds as well. With chickpeas, ½ cup provides you a little more than 7 grams of protein. The great thing about chickpeas is that you can eat them cold or cooked in something, in salad, and of course by making your own hummus.
If you are a fan of nuts and seeds, add in some almonds to your meals and snacks! You can have a handful of almonds as a snack, top slivered almonds to your soup or salads, or made your own almond butter to dip other fruits and vegetables in. While many nuts contain protein, almonds are one of your best options. You will get over 16 grams of protein in just ½ cup of almonds, not to mention all the other nutrients these give you.
When you are on a plant-based diet, sometimes you want a main course that resembles a look or flavor to meat, without actually having meat. This is where tofu comes in. It can be intimidating at first, but it is loaded with protein and other vitamins and minerals, and takes on the flavor or whatever you cook it with. You are going to get about 10 grams of protein for each ½ cup of tofu you have.