It may seem impossible to swap from a carnivorous diet to a plant-based one. Everyone tells you all the minerals and proteins you get from meat you can’t get from vegetables. But that isn’t true. Plants have more variety of minerals and vitamins and also can be more protein-packed than some meats.
If you want the hardy taste of protein, look no further than black beans. With one of the highest protein in vegetables at 15 grams per cup. But not just black beans, beans, in general, are a wonderful substitute for meat, beans, lentils, and peas! Each has their own distinct natural flavor to swap up the everyday meals. They can be dressed up in their natural form or mashed and combined with other ingredients to mock meat patties. One cup yields 227 calories which are half the recommended dose of carbohydrates and one serving is only a ⅓ of a cup! Not only are they high in protein and carbohydrates they bring health benefits that meat can’t like antioxidants, fiber, and improved digestion. Growing in popularity, black beans are an excellent substitute for meat.
Look anywhere on the web and one of the first things that might pop up is quinoa. Quinoa is considered a superfood. Quinoa is bland in taste but that makes it so versatile. One cup cooked quinoa (it triples in size so it saves space and money!) contains 222 calories, but don’t let that number scare you it fills you up! Within those 222 calories is also a whopping 8 grams of protein, 39 grams of carbohydrates and 3.5 grams of fat. A single serving is only about a half a cup. It can be mashed with black beans or an egg with any combinations of seasonings for a delicious vegetarian burger, meatballs, or even meatless meatloaf! But the title superfood doesn’t come from just the balanced nutrients, it comes from the fact that it is a complete protein. One of the few ingredients in the world that have all 7 essential amino acids we as humans need to consume to be healthy, and you can find all of them perfectly balanced in quinoa!
Nut seeds are equivalent in protein as a single serving of meat, about 21 grams per cup depending on the nut. Not only are they high in protein they are very filling, it is a bit harder to mash them into a mock meat patty but are an excellent addition to shakes, smoothies, salads, or other mock meat recipes. They are high in antioxidants, heart healthy, and contain 3 of the 7 essential amino acids. Not all nuts are good in large quantities though. Do your research on each nut before exclusively eating them, for example the Brazilian nut is toxic in large quantities, though good for your health occasionally, it should not be eaten on a daily basis.
Unlike meat, there are hundreds of plant based ingredients, and most of them are better for your health in the long run. Try new things!
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