In October, we celebrated World Vegetarian Day and on this month, November 1st marks World Vegan Day. Active Nation are all for substituting animal produce for a plant based diet, so this month we are looking at key foods to help you sustain a healthy and tasty vegan diet. All the health benefits of cutting out meat when following a veggie diet can be boosted by a vegan diet.
However, some people are concerned that cutting down on animal produce will impact their protein intake. Fear not! Whether you’re vegan, veggie, cutting down on animal-produce, or simply looking for new and exciting ways to pack more protein into your diet, we have found the best foods for you.
The pulse family includes lentils, quinoa, chickpeas, and beans (even baked beans count!). Cooking with pulses is an easy, tasty, and super healthy way to bulk out your meals with a low-fat punch of protein. Try something like this fast and flavoursome quinoa salad for a yummy filling meal. Get inventive and swap out the feta cheese for some apple to create a totally vegan experience!
Not only are oats a fantastic source of protein, but they provide slow-release energy which makes them the perfect first meal of your day. Rich in soluble fibre, eating oats for breakfast will help to balance insulin and blood sugar levels, which will in turn limit fat retainment and keep you feeling energised for longer.
Oats are also full of magnesium which can reduce chances of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as being packed with protein. So, start your morning with a bowl of porridge – and, apparently, it’s better at lowering cholesterol than statins! Add almond milk for sweetness and, to spice your porridge up, chuck in some cinnamon, banana, and sultanas for a tasty, healthy, vegan treat.
Milk is a great source of protein, but if you’re looking to reduce your intake of animal produce, or are simply curious to sample some dairy alternatives, then there is a wide range of milk substitutes to pick from.
Soy milk, which comes from the pulse soy bean, has a high protein content and is very popular. Being sold in most shops and cafes around the UK, soy products are also available in a range of flavoured drinks, ice-creams, yoghurts and puddings.
Almond or hazelnut milks offer a creamy taste which makes for a great addition to your breakfast, coffee or tea.
Rice milk and hemp milk are free from gluten, soy, and nuts, so make a perfect dairy alternative for anyone with allergies or intolerances.
Fruit & Vegetables
Our top choices for protein filled fruit have to go to the dried variety, such as raisins, prunes, dates and dried apricots. Dried fruits are rich in fibre as well as having a high protein content. They make a perfect addition to cereal or porridge, as well as a tasty, easily transported midday snack. Dried fruit can have a high sugar content though, so make sure you balance your diet out with plenty of fresh fruits.
For fresh protein filled fruits, we recommend avocados, bananas, and berries (including raspberries, blackberries, mulberries and strawberries). If you’re feeling creative, why not try making your own tasty apricot purée for a tasty desert or breakfast addition?
When looking for protein packed veg, GO GREEN! Any fan of Popeye will know that spinach is placing high on our list. Throw in some kale, broccoli, peas, green beans, sprouts, asparagus or artichokes, and you have yourself the greenest punch of protein any sailor could dream up!
For the meat-lovers among us, why not try some of the meat alternatives that are widely available. They are packed full of protein and provide an easy way to cook your usual meat-based meals, with little readjustment.
Tofu, which comes from soy beans, is an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron, and all the essential amino acids. UK brands such as Linda McCartney also offer healthy, soy based, but meaty-tasting veggie and vegan alternatives, ranging from succulent BBQ pulled pork burgers to yummy, herby sausages.
For a delicious, healthy, protein packed vegan diet, give these a try, and check out our tasty Active Nutrition recipes for more inspiration!