by Charles Weller February 22, 2017
Whether you are joining the vegan bandwagon to lighten your carbon footprint or you simply want to lose the weight you’ve gained from eating too much meat and animal products, these top 20 veggies and plant-based foods will help you achieve your goals.
By avoiding animal products, you will not only lose weight and positively impact the environment you will also crowd out the processed crap that is only causing harm to your health.
But how do you replace the protein from animals? What foods should you add to your diet to get the protein your body needs to build muscle and provide energy? Consider eating more of the following veggies, meat alternatives, and legumes:
Protein Amount: 18g per 1-cup serving
One of the healthiest appetizers you’ve never tried, a single cup of organic edamame (cooked soybeans) contains healthy proteins. The organic variety is better for your health since most of the soybeans you’ll find at any local store is probably genetically modified and treated heavily with pesticides.
Recipe Suggestion: Stir fry edamame with egg, scallions, and asparagus for a delectable appetizer.
Protein Amount: 16g per 3 oz. serving
At its most basic, tempeh is a dense cake made by fermenting cooked soybeans. Like tofu, you can slice and pan fry it. This is another healthy alternative to animal products if you are looking for vegan protein.
Chewy and nutty, tempeh contains more fiber and protein than tofu. Since it is fermented, it is also easier to digest for most people.
Recipe Suggestion: Swap out your beef meatballs for Tempeh Meatballs.
Protein Amount: 8 - 15g per 3 oz. serving
Tofu is the classic vegan blank slate. Made using curdled soymilk, you can eat it scrambled, sautéed in a stir fry or simply pan-fried. Although it doesn’t pack on the same amount of protein as tempeh, it has a more tolerable taste.
To avoid pesticides and genetically-modified soy, always go for organic tofu.
Protein Amount: 9g per cup serving
High in protein and fiber and low in calories, lentils are versatile. You can morph them up into a veggie burger, a nutrient-dense side dish, or a hummus-like dip. Additionally, this plant-based food also reduces the risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol.
Recipe Suggestion: Instead of processed meat, use lentils and wild mushrooms for a deliciously meat-tasting burger.
Protein Amount: 7.6g per cup serving
Black beans also pack on a wide range of phytonutrients, folate, potassium, vitamin B6, and heart-healthy fiber.
Recipe: Use black beans in your brownies for a healthier dessert.
Protein Amount: 7.3g per cup serving
Apart from the filling protein, these beans also contain Leucine, an amino acid that promotes healthy muscle synthesis, especially among older adults.
Protein Amount: 7g per ¼ cup serving of peanuts or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
Apart from the comfort foods you can make with these two, peanuts and peanut butter are also versatile. Add them to your breakfast and you’ll end up eating less during the day.
Protein: 6.5g per 1 cup serving
Wild rice packs more protein than other carbs, making it a suitable replacement for quinoa and white rice. What is more, you’ll soon fall in love with the chewy texture and nutty taste, all the while feeling more satisfied.
Recipe Suggestion: Make a casserole with wild rice, goat cheese, and cranberries.
Protein Amount: 6g per cup serving
The combination of fiber and protein in chickpeas makes for a healthy dip.
Recipe Suggestion: Replace mayo by slathering chickpeas on your sandwich bread. Alternatively, chop up your favorite vegetables and serve them with hummus made from chickpeas.
Protein Amount: 6g per ¼ cup serving
Almonds are a good source of protein and vitamin E (good for hair and skin health). They will also provide you with 61% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium – which will help curb those sugar cravings, boost bone health, ease muscle spasms and soreness, and smooth PMS-related cramps.
Protein: 6g per 2 tablespoons
Although these seeds are pint-sized, they pack tons of protein. Chia seeds are also a good source of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) that stimulates the satiety hormone leptin, leading to more fat burning and less storage.
Protein: 5g in ¼ cup serving
Apart from the protein, oats also have a low glycemic index. As such, they won’t spike blood sugar, meaning you’ll experience fewer cravings and feel more satisfied after each oatmeal serving.
Recipe Suggestion: Whip them up into a peach crumble or mix the oats with chickpea for a healthy veggie soup.
Protein Amount: 5g per ¼ cup serving
Cashews will deliver 20% of the magnesium and 12% of the vitamin K intake your body needs. Both of these nutrients are good for overall bone health.
Protein Amount: 5 g per ¼ cup serving
Apart from delivering protein, pumpkin seeds are also nutrient-rich, providing good magnesium, zinc, omega-3s, and tryptophan.
Protein: 4g in a single medium white potato
Another healthy protein source, potatoes pack potassium.
Recipe Suggestion: Mash them up or toss them into the oven with a spray of olive oil for a delectable side dish.
Protein: 3g per cup serving
To further boost the protein you’ll get from spinach, always cook them instead of adding them to your salads.
Paired with other protein-rich legumes and veggies, organic corn will deliver even more protein to your body.
Recipe Suggestion: Try an easy butternut squash and sweet corn succotash tonight.
Protein Amount: 2 g per avocado
Super filling, dreamy and creamy, avocado combines protein with monounsaturated fatty acids.
Recipe Suggestion: Swap out your guacamole with an avocado mojito smoothie.
Protein: 2 g per cup serving
Broccoli supplies healthy fiber and proteins. It also contains sulforaphane to help your body fight off cancer.
Recipe Suggestion: Combine peanuts and broccoli into an irresistibly scrumptious salad.
Protein: 2g per cup serving
Although the taste isn’t inspiring, Brussels sprouts are nutritional superstars that will provide you with the protein, vitamin K, and potassium your body needs on a daily basis.
With the above suggestions, you’ll never have an excuse to not go vegan. Try the recipes for each veggie/plant-based food and your body will start showing it in the form of a smaller waistline, healthier activity, and general good feels.
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