If you are trying to go vegan this January or even longer you may wonder where you will get your protein from. Worry not! There are super easy ways to get some good plant based protein into your diet that doesn’t involve hours of cooking and preparations.
Your main protein sources are:
- Soya based – including edameme beans, tofu and tempeh
- Legume based – beans, lentils and chickpeas and anything made from these
- Grains – go for gluten free ancient grains and wholegrains
- Greens – add some spirulina or kale to your smoothie, zucchini and broccoli are also great
- Nuts & seeds – cashews, almonds, peanuts are best
Ok, so how can you incorporate these into your diet? Here is some inspiration!
1 – Soya
Soya beans are rich in protein, dietary fiber particularly folate, manganese, phosphorus and vitamin K. 100g raw soya beans provide 36g protein. Soya is often genetically modified (GMO) so always make sure you buy organic, which is the best way to avoid GMO soya.
Explore Cuisine – a range of pasta shapes made from legumes such as soya, lentils and black beans – all organic
Jollyum – organic soya ice-cream
2 – Legumes
The list of legumes is endless including chickpeas, lentils and beans so go and experiment! Legumes can be used for salads, casseroles, soups or ground into flour to make pasta or even used for baking!
Hodmedod’s – they sell a massive range of legumes, roasted snacks and also legume flours. Their fava bean flour makes an amazing cake and this roasted fava bean salt & vinegar a fab snack!
Lentils: there are many varieties of lentils each with their unique flavours and properties including Puy, Red, Brown or Green lentils. They are one of the best sources of soluble fibre which makes them beneficial for lowering cholesterol thus prevent heart disease. They also promote regular bowel movement and according to research they can help you manage blood sugar levels.
Explore Cuisine – Red Lentil Spaghetti, also look out for red lentil penne, green lentil lasagne and penne from Expore
Black Beans: these shiny black beans (also called as black turtle beans) are native to South America but also used in Punjabi cuisine. They are high in dietary fibre, protein and folate. They are also a good source of manganese, iron, calcium and vitamin A. Black beans, similarly to other beans are often soaked (if you buy them dried) so they not only cook quicker but they are also easier to digest and also retain more nutrients and beneficial “resistant starch” while losing some of the total carbohydrate content.
Superflakes cereal by Nature’s Path -using sorghum flour, black bean flour and brown rice flour, which are all made from nutrient-rich sprouted grains. (please note that these are not vegan – contain honey)
Explore Cuisine – Black bean spaghetti
3 – Ancient Grains (gluten free)
Grains have a bad rep these days but many gluten free grains are in fact nutritious. Ancient grains include millet, teff, oats (gluten free) and sorghum and so called ‘pseudo grains’ which are not really grains but seeds include amaranth, buckwheat and chia.
Look out! Some ancient grains are not gluten free such as spelt, oats and kamut.
The origins of ancient grains go back tens of thousands of years to our hunting-gathering ancestors and said to be largely unchanged from their initial domesticated varieties. As opposed to more widespread crops such as wheat, rice and corn they have not been developed over time through mutation, selective cropping, breeding.
Green’s beers – brewers of naturally gluten free beers made from ancient grains
Supergrain by Nomad Health – a selection of pasta shapes made with ancient grains and seeds
4 – Plant based protein snacks
What if you need more protein? Go for a plant based protein snack or drink! Many products today are developed using pea, soy or hemp protein instead of whey. These make a great pre- or post workout snack.
Pulsin – they make some great bars, snacks and plant based protein powders
Battleoats – makers of vegan protein cookies
Purition – plant based protein shakes