Want to feel full throughout the day? Tired of chalky-tasting meal replacement bars? Finding different sources of protein that don’t come from an animal can be difficult. However, with climate change affecting our agricultural production and with our eating habits affecting climate change, it is important to explore new sources of protein. Did you know that livestock farming produces 20 to 50 percent of all man-made carbon emissions?
It’s beneficial for your body and the environment to eat less meat-centered proteins and, instead, consume plant-based proteins. A healthy human needs to consume 1.2 to 2.2 grams of protein everyday. If your diet is mostly vegetarian, taking supplements is an ideal way to get the proteins your body needs.
Here are five ways to consume plant-based proteins, as either a main course or a side. An entirely green diet may not be for everyone, but incorporating more plant-based proteins into your meals can positively impact your health.
You know soy and its many forms, such as tofu and edamame! Soy is a great source of Vitamin B-12, which is found in many animal products. Vitamin B-12 keeps your body’s nerve and blood cells healthy by absorbing its nutrients through chemicals in the stomach. The ways in which vitamins are absorbed into your body are important because it determines how effectively the body will process them and convert them into energy.
Many restaurants now offer vegan substitutions for many meat-based meals, so you can order tofu instead of beef. Tofu can be served in soup, and even fried and scrambled like eggs. There are many ways to incorporate this soy product into your everyday diet.
If you’re looking for a hearty main course, consider lentils. Lentils can be added to a stew to create a delicious meal. They are a great source of slow-digesting fiber and carbohydrates. Carbohydrates aren’t “bad” for you. The way your body digests them can just result in a lack of energy absorption. Slow carbs, like reliable lentils, don’t spike your blood sugar upon consumption. They are slow to digest so the energy is not used all at once.
You can throw lentils and squash into a pot with a generous amount of curry seasoning and find yourself with a meal to be repeated.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a wonderful addition to any meal. It contains all nine amino acids which means it is a whole protein. Whole proteins help your body reach 20 amino acids because it already has 11 amino acids in it. This grain can be added to soups and salads as an extra protein. Also, quinoa is rich in magnesium, iron, and fiber which are all beneficial to a well-rounded diet.
Yes, this little grain is delicious and powerful. Some recipe options include quinoa salad and quinoa risotto.
Another great source of protein is the chia seed. This seed contains Omega-3 fatty acids which is often found in fish. In addition to the protein aspect, chia seeds’ Omega-3 fatty acids help keep the heart healthy. Chia seeds can be added to yogurt, smoothies, and even soaked in water to be consumed.
Some popular chia seed recipes include, chia seed pudding, granola bars, and crackers!
Dark, Leafy Greens
Don’t knock kale until you try it! Dark greens like kale and swiss chard are rich in protein. Combine these vegetables with another plant-based protein and you’ve got yourself a filling meal. Throw in a few handfuls into your smoothie or scrambled eggs and you can add tons of nutritional value without even noticing a difference in flavor!
Remember that your body’s unique and needs nutrients in all forms. Some days, you might not need 2.2 grams of protein, but other days you could be craving some delicious lentils. Keep your mind open to the many plant-based proteins out there. Explore new recipes! Use your newfound knowledge to have a dinner you’ve never had before. Agape Nutrition has supplements you can take to maintain your protein intake. Taking vitamins, in addition to your daily routine is very important to your immune system and overall health.