Happy World Vegan Day! With our focus on sustainability, animal welfare and health continuing to grow, there are more and more vegan options available to us all the time.
I love adding in plant-based meals to my diet, even though I’m not a vegan myself, to boost my vegetable intake and add some variety to my meals!
But keep in mind, not all protein sources and vegan meat alternatives are created equal… Some of the “meats” you can buy are super high in sodium, sugar or artificial ingredients, so I recommend steering clear of these when you can.
My favourite vegan sources of protein, in order, are:
Legumes can refer to anything from beans, to lentils, chickpeas, peas and even peanuts!
These are super high in iron, magnesium and fibre. Fibre is amazing for your gut and keeps you fuller for longer. Just keep in mind you might want to increase your fibre intake gradually, to prevent gas and bloating!
Also, be sure to soak your legumes first, and cook them thoroughly to help with digestion.
I love adding legumes to salads, hummus, stir fry or lentil Bolognese for a protein hit!
Tempeh contains heaps of protein, clocking in at 20g for in each 100-gram portion! It can be made from soy beans, other bean varieties or wheat, and is also high in iron, calcium, magnesium and other essential nutrients.
It’s a great choice – and is fantastic for your gut! Not only is it made through a fermentation process, but it also contains prebiotics, to promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.
I like tempeh in salads, stir fries or baked.
Quinoa is technically a seed, but is classified as a wholegrain. It is considered a complete protein, since it contains all the essential amino acids that we can’t make on our own. It’s gluten-free, and high in fibre – again making it really good for your gut!
Quinoa won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels, unlike other meat alternatives which can be packed with sugars and nasties.
It’s also a great source of iron and B-vitamins, so can help boost energy. Just remember, always soak quinoa before eating, as it contains ‘saponins’ – a substance which can be difficult to digest.
Add quinoa to salads to bulk them up, keep you satiated and pack in those nutrients!
Remember, many meat alternatives like meat-free bacon, burgers and Quorn are heavily processed, high in saturated fats and sodium. I’d keep these to a minimum, focussing on my recommended protein sources instead.
Need inspiration? You can find plenty of recipes including quinoa, legumes and tempeh in the app!