As more and more people turn to vegetarian and vegan diets getting enough minerals and protein can be harder for people who aren’t eating meat. Over 11% of UK consumers have tried to follow a vegan diet and there are roughly 500,000 vegans in the UK. Whereas 5.7% of the UK population say that they don’t eat meat – BBC News reports that a quarter of the UK do not have meat or fish. I for one have been a vegetarian for over 3 years, I admit I’ve had the odd meat relapses but have continued.
There are benefits to turning to a plant based diet, I won’t inundate you with reasons for changing but here are a few:
- Prevents cancer
- Helps beat heart disease
- Lowers blood pressure
- Prevents diabetes
- Lower body weight
Nevertheless, there are some draw back to vegan diets. Vegans who do not eat meat or fish may lack certain nutrients, especially if they are not consuming eggs or diary products. The most common lacking nutrients are:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
In this article, I have explored the various types of plant-based foods for protein.
Lentils (both red and green) contain plenty of protein, fiber and some of the key nutrients. They are a great source of protein and are generally fairly cheap to buy. A full cup of cooked lentils contains around 16g of protein. They can be added to most meals such as stews, curries, salads and with rice.
Another favourite of mine, cooked chickpeas are high in protein and contain around 14g of protein per full cup. They can be eaten hot or cold, making them perfect for salads, stews, curries and with quinoa.
Chickpeas are also the main ingredient when making hummus, which is a perfect sandwich filler – just be sure to avoid full fat hummus.
Nuts are another source of protein that have several health benefits. They contain a high number of healthy fats which is an added bonus for your heart. Two nuts which I would recommend are peanuts and almonds. A full cup of peanuts delivers 40g of protein and almonds roughly 32g.
They can be eaten as a snack or added to certain salads.
Spirulina is algae and can be bought as powder to be added to smoothies. It is a rich nutrient containing Iron, B vitamins and manganese. Though it is an acquired taste the benefits outweigh the negatives.
Quinoa (pronounced KI-NWA) is a flowering plant in the amaranth family with a high-protein content. Cooked quinoa contains 8g of protein per cup, the grain is rich in other nutrients including Iron, fiber and magnesium.
It is a healthy alternative to rice and has about 40 fewer calories then white rice. If you are trying to cut carbs I would start using quinoa. Quinoa can be used in several dishes and is especially suited for salads.
If you are looking for further information and secrets on plants, be sure to check out this article on the secret meaning of plants.
Thanks for reading – images by unsplash.com