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Great Alternative Sources of Protein

More people are joining the meatless movement, nowadays, mainly because of health reasons and the increasing social awareness of its environmental impact. Some people are choosing to eat less meat, while others are choosing to remove meat from their diet altogether.

However, one of the most understandable reasons for people who are hesitant to remove meat from their diet is their concern of where they will get their proteins. This is a concern especially for those who work out and need a lot of protein in their diet.

The good news is that proteins from food don’t have to come from animals. There are many plant-based proteins out there that are as good as animal-based proteins.

What’s more, they’re delicious as well! Here are some of the best sources of plant-based proteins

1. Beans

Who doesn’t love beans? They’re very versatile and lend a great, earthy flavor to almost any dish that they are used in. They also tend to soak up a lot of flavor with whatever ingredient they are combined with, making them great for soups, stews, and chilis. Did you know that for every ½ cup of beans, you get around 7.5g of protein? Beans are low in cholesterol and fat, too!

Beans can be used either dried or canned, and they can last anywhere from six to twelve months, depending on how they are processed. Cooked beans can last around five days in the refrigerator.

2. Natto

Natto is one of those foods that has a love-hate relationship, or at the very last, you learn to love the taste. For many people, the funky smell and taste does take some getting used to. However, with a whopping 15.5g of protein per ½ cup, those who do love eating natto pack a powerful protein punch in their diets.

Natto is popular in many Japanese dishes, such as sushi or maki rolls, although it can also be used in pastas, curries, and dumplings. In the UK, you might have to visit an Asian grocery store to be able to find natto on the shelves, but it’s worth the effort of finding some if you’re looking for a meatless, high-protein food!

3. Lentils

Lentils are known as “superfoods”, because these little bundles of deliciousness are packed full of iron, potassium, antioxidants, and folate. They come in red and green varieties, and although this does not affect the flavor, it does add wonderful color to your dishes.

Lentils are very versatile, and are popular in Indian cuisine, so you can expect to see them in curries, stews, and soups. Dried lentils can be kept in airtight containers inside cool, dark cupboards for up to 12 months, while canned lentils are also good for one year. At 9g per ½ cup, lentils are a very hearty and healthy addition to any dish.

4. Tofu

It is any wonder why tofu is so popular in many Asian dishes? Tofu has a somewhat bland taste on its own, but this only means that it can blend its flavor well with almost anything that it pairs with! You can cook tofu in a variety of ways, whether fried, boiled, steamed, or roasted. It goes well with bold-flavored food, such as garlic, soy sauce, curries, and stews.

Since it’s so popular, you can easily find tofu is almost any supermarket. Tofu can be purchased in either a solid block form, or in tube form where you can squeeze and adjust how much tofu you would need. In the unopened pack, tofu can keep to around a month in the fridge, but once you open the pack, it can only keep to about a couple of days submerged in water. Tofu will give you around 7g per ½ cup.

5. Quinoa

Talk about a delicious and nutritious punch in one little package! Quinoa may be small, but you shouldn’t underestimate how much these little seeds can help your health. Quinoa can give you nine different amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own, and it’s full of manganese, fiber, and iron. Quinoa comes in a variety of colors, such as beige, red, and black. Uncooked quinoa should be stored in a dry, airtight container, and cooked quinoa can last a few days in the fridge.

Most people use quinoa like rice, and they prepare it like rice as well! However, more and more recipes are coming out where quinoa is used creatively. You can use it in place of pasta or other grains, couscous, or you can add it to soups or salads for an extra protein punch.

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