Whether you’re a vegan or vegetarian or just trying to cut down on meat, the question that probably popped into your mind at some point is how do I get enough protein? It seems a common concern for those considering a more plant-based approach; however, it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think with a few foods. Here are a few options to get you started.
Whether it’s kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas or even baked beans, beans are high in protein per serving. Beans will average around 20g of protein per 100g and contain a range of vitamins and minerals. Adding them to a veggie chilli or in a stir-fry is an easy way to up your protein.
Not only are they packed full of fibre, but all-important healthy fats, they also contain about 5g of protein per 25g. Some of our favourites include cashew nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds and peanut butter. Eat them as a snack, try sprinkling them on the top of curries or pasta dishes, or spread peanut butter on toast or an apple.
Both originate from soybeans, which is considered a whole protein source, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids the body requires. Edamame beans are young soybeans that can be boiled or steamed and can be used in many dishes. Tofu is created by pressing bean curds together and is an excellent replacement for meat. Although bland tasting, tofu is brilliant at absorbing flavours of other ingredients. Both provide approximately 12-16 grams of protein per 100g.
A breakfast staple, oats offer fibre, magnesium, zinc, and protein. While they provide roughly 15g of protein per 100g, it should be noted that oats do not offer as complete a protein as other options. They can be used for breakfast porridge, added to veggie burgers and meatball mixes, and added to cakes or biscuits.
Great in dahls, soups and salads, lentils are rich in nutritional goodness. They contain fibre, iron, slow-digesting carbs, antioxidants, and around 9g of protein per 100g.
There are other ways you can up your protein intake, such as vegan protein powder and meat substitutes, and this isn’t a comprehensive list. Still, hopefully, it gives you a starting point and has potentially opened up the possibility of consuming high-protein vegan or vegetarian dishes.