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3 things to eat if you are on a plant-based diet

Plant-based diets are low in fat and high in fibre, but they are notoriously low in protein. Here are 3 things you should include in your meals to ensure that you hit your protein macros

While plant-based diets are great for you, they are often low in protein (Unsplash (Victoria Shes))

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People go plant-based for different reasons – ethics, health, weight loss, love for animals, or to preserve the environment. However, whatever your reason for going plant-based – and there are some great reasons to do so, no doubt-- getting enough protein, Vitamin D, B12, calcium, iron and zinc will be something you need to plan for. While the micronutrients can be dealt with by choosing fortified food and popping the right supplement, getting enough protein is something that comes up frequently. Here are 3 things you eat to get more protein on a plant-based diet.

Also read: How to join the Veganuary food movement

Mushrooms

Baked, sauteed, as a substitute for a patty in a burger or a lovely tomato-based stew--there are plenty of ways to cook and eat mushrooms. What's more, they are great for you, very low in calories and fat, containing micronutrients like copper, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. They also contain protein--around 2.2 gms per 100 gms of mushroom.

Don't forget to check out this great recipe for healthy mushroom burgers

Soy

Soy has some anti-nutrients, which means that you cannot depend only on soy to hit your protein targets. Having said that, a small portion of high-quality soy, whether it is in the form of tofu, tempeh, or edamame, should be part of a healthy plant-based diet; it is a complete protein, one of the few plant-derived products containing all nine amino acids. 

While tofu has absolutely no taste, taking on the flavour of the sauce, curry or spices it is cooked in, tempeh may need some getting used to. Our suggestion? Steam it and use it as a great meat substitute in curries. Not only will the curry mask the slightly earthy taste, but you will forget that it is plant-based and not meat.

Check out this great recipe for a peanut coconut tempeh curry

Ancient grains and pseudo-grains

Spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are often called “ancient grains”--they belong to a family of cereals and pseudo cereals that haven't been impacted by selective breeding over millennia unlike more common grains such as corn, wheat and rice. They are believed to be nutritionally denser than modern grains and certainly contain more protein: a cup of spelt contains 10.7 gms of protein, amaranth 9.3 gms, teff--used to make Ethiopian injera--around 10 gms while quinoa contains about 8 gms.

Try out this great quinoa pulao recipe. You won't regret it.

Also read: Vegan? Try plant-based supplements to meet your protein needs

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