A recent study showed that one in ten Americans say they don’t eat meat.
Vegan living is popular for a number of reasons. It can promote weight loss, reduce your chances of heart disease, and even lower your cancer risk. Yet going vegan is often considered an audacious decision because of the risk of a protein deficiency.
Is it possible to enjoy the benefits of a vegan diet while still getting enough protein?
The answer is yes. Here are some protein-rich options you’ve got to know about if you’re thinking about going vegan.
Why Do We Need Protein?
Believe it or not, every cell in your body requires protein to function. It helps you to create and repair tissue.
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, and skin. The protein in red blood cells helps to carry oxygen throughout your body. And it can help you digest well, which is critical to weight loss.
If you’re going vegan to be healthy, you won’t want to skimp on protein. A deficiency will lead to skin problems, loss of muscle mass, and fatigue. You’ll want to make sure to incorporate it into your diet through other means.
Eat Your Beans
If you’re a vegan, you can get a natural protein pack by adding beans to your diet. You can crisp them up in the oven for a tasty snack or add them to pasta for extra flavor. They can also be baked into a dessert or blended into hummus.
Most beans contain around 15 grams of protein per cup. Great options are kidney, black, and pinto beans. Chickpeas are also delicious when tossed in the oven with your favorite spices.
Besides protein, beans also provide a healthy amount of fiber, iron, and folate. If you want to make sure you’re getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to run smoothly, you can’t go wrong with a plateful of beans.
Oatmeal is another popular way for vegans to get the protein their bodies crave. In fact, as little as half a cup of oats can provide you with 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
Oatmeal is a great breakfast or late morning snack. You can eat them with fresh fruit like apples, bananas, and strawberries. This is also a great way to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
You can also try your oatmeal with nuts, dried fruit, or maple syrup for a sweet touch. It’s a snack you can always feel good about eating.
Nuts are another staple for healthy living as a vegan. Peanuts, for example, provide a lot of plant-based protein.
These nuts are also rich in Vitamin B-3 and healthy fats. Roasting your peanuts or spreading delicious peanut butter on whole-grain toast are popular ways to enjoy them. You can also have your peanuts in a granola bar or trail mix.
Almonds are another great way to get your protein, with seven grams for every quarter cup. They also contain a lot of healthy fats, fiber, and magnesium.
Besides eating your almonds whole, you can enjoy them on your spaghetti, in a couscous salad, or candied and baked. Almond butter is also a sweet treat when added to a smoothie with strawberries and bananas.
Almonds can reduce your hunger and lower your overall calorie intake while providing plenty of the nutrition your body needs. If you’re serious about starting a healthy vegan lifestyle, find out how you can incorporate them into your diet.
Walnuts are another wonderful option for vegans, with 4.5 grams of protein in only a quarter cup. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which your body needs to help lower your cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Walnuts are delicious on your salads, yogurt, and cereal. You can also pack sweetened walnuts in a bag and snack on them throughout the day.
Many vegans who work out a lot also enjoy protein powder. Many options, such as stevia free protein powder, don’t contain gluten. They are designed to support healthy muscle and tissue growth.
Some protein powders also contain extra benefits, such as immune system support and stress reduction. Make sure you do your research and find the right powder for you.
If you’re looking to become a vegan, you’re going to want to get familiar with popular veggies that are rich in protein. For example, a single broccoli stalk contains 4 grams of protein. It’s great as part of a veggie stir-fry or dipped in your favorite hummus.
Kale is another protein-rich vegetable, with 2 grams of protein per cup. It’s popular as a salad with scallions and a tasty vinaigrette. Or you can cook it up with your favorite soba or rice noodles.
Kale is one of those superfoods that also contains Vitamin A, folate, and Omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re looking to get healthy, you’ll want to make it a regular part of your diet.
If you love Japanese food, you’ll appreciate the fact that edamame is also rich in plant-based protein. The snack is wonderful when boiled and dipped in a little salt. You can also enjoy it crisped-up or spicy.
Protein-Rich Foods For Vegan Living
Vegan living is full of benefits, but you’ll need to adjust your diet to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need. With the right foods, you can be enjoying a healthful, happy lifestyle in no time.
If you’re ready to learn more about improving your diet and lifestyle, read our blog today.