30g serving (roughly 20 almonds) – 6.4g protein
Snack your way to your daily protein allowance with a handful of almonds. Not only will these stop you craving sugary treats between meals, they contain fibre and are said to lower cholesterol, too. Plus they’re a good source of vitamin E and other antioxidants that nourish the skin and reduce signs of ageing.
120g serving – 8.6g protein
Low-cost and low in fat, add half a tin of cooked chickpeas to a salad and you’ve got a quick and easy protein-packed lunch that’ll keep you full through the afternoon. Or why not whizz them up in a food processor along with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and water to make your very own houmous. This versatile little legume also forms the base of falafels, and works really well in a curry too.
250ml serving – 8.5g protein
Pour it on your cereal or use it to make your porridge and you’ve already started your day with a hefty serving of plant-based protein. When fortified, soy milk contains almost as much calcium as dairy milk, so you’re not missing out by switching to soya. In fact, you’re going for a lower-fat option.
100g serving – 12.6g protein
Firm tofu, or soya bean curd, can be marinated and livened up in a stir fry, while soft, or silken, tofu can be used to make sauces, salad dressings and even chocolate mousse. Tofu contains all the essential amino acids, so is a complete source of protein. Plus, it’s an excellent source of iron and calcium. If you want to pack even more protein into your diet, try cooking with tempeh, the nuttier, less processed option made with fermented, cooked soy beans.
Four simple food swaps to help you adopt a plant-based diet
Start swapping these alternatives into your shopping basket and plant-based living will be second nature before you know it!
Pick plant milk over dairy
Move over, dairy, it’s all about the plant-based milks. Be it almond, coconut, hazelnut, hemp, oat, rice or soya milk, there’s something for everyone.
Put them in your tea or coffee, mix them in milkshakes and smoothies, use them in your cooking – they’re an ideal straight swap for dairy. And you can even get cream and crème fraîche replacements, too.
Swap white pasta for wholewheat
They’re the same price, take the same time to cook, and taste the same once they’re covered in sauce. But as white pasta is processed, its simple carbohydrates are quickly digested, whereas wholewheat pasta’s complex carbohydrates provide slow-release energy. And because wholewheat is made with the whole grain, you get more nutritional value.
Replace meat with beans
Curry and chilli are both great weeknight meals, and can easily be made ahead and frozen. And by replacing chicken or mince with black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas, you’ll be saving money and cooking time. Plus, in dishes like these that use lots of herbs and spices, meat often just adds a bit of texture, so swapping it out with beans or lentils isn’t too noticeable.
Switch sugary snacks for fruit
We know it sounds boring. And we know that an apple is no substitute for a packet of biscuits. But try treating yourself to something a bit sweeter, like strawberries, blueberries or watermelon. You won’t get that afternoon slump that comes from scoffing a chocolate bar at 3pm, and eventually that craving for refined sugars will wear off.
Follow the foodies
Join the plant-based community! If you don’t have friends or family that follow a plant-based diet, get online and find a new tribe of pals with the same foodie interests as you. Social media and the internet make it easier than ever to be part of this expanding community – here are our favourite bloggers who share their journeys, recipes and inspiring food photography.
Laura Wright loves cooking with natural, seasonal, plant-based foods, and writes about living simply and staying connected to the earth. Based in Southern Ontario, she shares her own recipes (along with some gorgeous photos) and tries out those from fellow plant-based authors’ cookbooks too.
Dana Shultz creates super-simple, delicious recipes that require either just 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or under 30 minutes to prepare. Showcasing plant-based comfort food at its very best, Dana herself doesn’t subscribe to one particular diet, but many of her recipes are also gluten free.
Angela Liddon has a passion for plant-based foods, and shares recipes that are free from gluten and soy as well as processed ingredients. She shifted to a plant-based diet back in 2009, and has been helping to inspire others on their path towards health and wellbeing ever since.
Aine Carlin started her food blog in 2009, but it’s since evolved into a lifestyle blog, documenting what she eats, wears and loves. Aine has a passion for sustainable living, and often posts pictures of her beautiful vintage outfits alongside tasty plant- based recipes. She’s written two vegan recipe books, too!
Photos by Mariana Montes de Oca, Brooke Lark, Heder Neves, rawpixel, Maddi Bazzocco, Alexandra Andersson on Unsplash.
This is an edited version of an article written by Yvette Streeter and originally published in In The Moment Magazine issue 2.