It’s very important to make sure that your body remains well fed and gets all the nutrients it needs to function well and without getting tired or run down, and getting adequate protein can be a challenge for vegetarians and vegans.
Here are my top 5 vegan protein sources and ideas for how to add them to your diet:
An algae native to Japan, this superfood is very high in protein as well as being rich in phytonutrients, iron, magnesium, zinc and vitamin A. Add a tea spoon to a smoothies or homemade juice, stir well and drink. My favourite smoothie recipe is spinach, avocado, blueberries, banana, oat milk, oats, hemp seeds and chlorella, a dash of maple syrup and topped up with water. Totally awesome snack or breakfast!
High protein, and contain all 9 essential amino acids as well as 11 others. Hemp seeds are also high in healthy fats and omega 3 – so also good for joints, hormonal health and brain function. Add to your smoothies or sprinkle in a salad or stir fry. Hemp is grown in many countries worldwide and the seeds are not the same as the marijuana plant in terms of psychoactive ingredients – you won’t get stoned from having hemp seeds with your lunch I promise!
Grown in South America, chia in Mayan means ‘strength’. Chia seeds are very high in nutrients for a low level of calories (if calories are important to you). As well as being high in protein, they are also a great source of fibre, omega 3 and calcium. As with hemp seeds, the omega 3 will benefit joint strength and brain function. Again sprinkle these in your salads and stir-fries or add them to your smoothies. If you’ve got a nutribullet or similar, mix mango, pineapple, apple, chia seeds and water and make into a smoothies mix. Then freeze into lolly cases for your kids – the perfect super healthy snack or dessert, totally yummy loaded with vitamins and goodness.
Here is an awesome article about why lentils are so good for you – high protein, good for cholesterol, energy and digestive health. Add them to salads or to your vegetable soups to thicken and make into a complete meal. Why lentils are so good for you
Never eat anything you can’t pronounce. Apart from quinoa – always eat quinoa! This is a high fibre grain from South America and is a brilliant alternative to pasta or rice. If you want to stabilise blood sugar, keep your energy levels stable and up, and increase your protein levels, reach for quinoa rather than any other grain or carb. It has twice as much protein as brown rice for example, as well as being high in other minerals and vitamins, and contains all 9 essential amino acids. Mix with your usual pasta sauces such as a tomato base with vegetables, add to salads or use instead of rice with your Asian vegetable dishes.