Guys! I have just recently made the switch to vegetarianism! I am so excited for all the new foods and recipes I’m trying. I actually get REALLY excited when it comes time to grocery shop and meal prep. AND! I can’t tell you how pretty my refrigerator looks with all the colorful vegetables!
My next step is moving to veganism. I’m taking baby steps, starting with finding my protein sources.
I’m a gym rat. My favorite thing to do is go to this place full of heavy plates and weird equipment, torture myself for an hour or two until my muscles no longer want to move, and then go home and wait for tomorrow to come so I can do it all over again. Favorite. Activity. Ever.
This isn’t possible without keeping my protein intake high to ensure my body is recovering from all the crazy stress that I put it through. It was super simple when I relied on animal products. But what now?
It was a little challenging switching my protein sources up, but I finally figured it out… and now that I have my list down pat, meal prepping is back to being a breeze.
Here are my top five go-to sources for plant-based protein!
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, were my original go-to when I started my journey. Just a half a cup provides 20 grams of protein!
I put chickpeas in salads, sandwiches, and soups. I made this delicious sweet and sour chickpea meal that I found here (which was to DIE for!), or you can bake them in the oven where they’ll get nice and crispy and make for the perfect snack… the options are so endless!
They have incredible health benefits as well. Chickpeas are full of dietary fiber which will aid in digestion as well as help keep you full. You can also thank dietary fiber for lowering cholesterol! There are plenty of vitamins and minerals in these little beans as well such as high levels of iron, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B-6.
Lentils are another great legume that offer 18 grams of protein per cup. I’m currently using them as a great substitute for vegan sloppy joes!
Like chickpeas, lentils are high in fiber and perfect for lowering bad cholesterol. But they are also well-known for protecting your heart! Consuming lentils will lower your risk for heart disease, especially thanks to it’s high levels of folate and magnesium.
Steel cut oats make for a quick and delicious meal. Soak 1/2 cup in water or milk overnight for an easy 10 grams of protein for breakfast. I like to mix mine with my favorite protein powder for an extra muscle-building boost
Not only are they an excellent source of protein, but oats will also keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check.
Also known as one of the many varieties of soybeans, this little bean is thrown into all sorts of popular foods and condiments. Mash them into a burger, pop them out of the pods for a healthy snack, throw them in a salad or a warm soup.. they go great with a number of meals. Soybean oil, soy sauce, and miso are also made with a mixture of soybeans including edamame.
And there is power behind this soybean! Edamame provide a whopping 17 grams of protein in every cup and plenty of antioxidants and fiber.
You can also thank edamame for quite a few health benefits. The manganese and vitamin k found in edamame will help build strong bones and decrease your risk of osteoporosis. They are also packed with copper which will keep your immune system happy and healthy.
I throw quinoa in EVERYTHING. It adds a little more texture to my meals and one cup of cooked quinoa adds 8 grams of protein to my day. It’s also an excellent source of whole grains.
Lots of iron and potassium are found in this super grain, which will keep your body running at its best. Oh! And did I mention it’s gluten-free?!
Need a pick-me-up? Quinoa is high in magnesium which helps stress levels, mood, and sleep. Throw in a serving of quinoa to keep you smiling and sleeping well!
Looking for some new, protein-packed vegan recipes? Check out my pinterest board here!