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Vegan Meal Ideas: Plan a Delicious, Healthy Meal Using Plant-Based Proteins

The Best Plant-Based Vegan Protein Sources

The next few months are rife with diet pitfalls as we head into fall and winter holidays. Corresponding with this calorie-laden season is the “fall back” time change. When we get home from work and it’s already dark outside, the last thing we want to do is exercise!

Choosing healthy foods and cooking at home are easy ways to steel yourself against junk food cravings. Our bodies also need plenty of protein to keep us full and satisfied.

Lean meats are a great source of protein, but plenty of plant-based sources can provide healthful protein with less fat and cholesterol than meat alternatives. Take tempeh, for example: this soybean-derived food has 21 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving, approximately the same amount of protein as a serving of beef.

Review our top ten list plant-based proteins, and aim to incorporate a few servings into your diet each day. Adequate protein not only helps support and repair muscles, but also provides the body with energy to fight fatigue. Avoid the sugar crash by choosing protein instead!

chickpea-lentil-soup

Chickpea and lentil soup packs in two types of plant-based proteins. Serve it warm or at room temperature for a hearty appetizer. (Photo courtesy travelingmcmahans on Flickr)

Best Plant-Based Vegan Protein Sources

  • Chickpeas
  • Tempeh
  • Soybeans (edamame)
  • Lentils
  • Seeds (hemp, flax, chia, etc.)
  • Nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews, etc.)
  • Tofu
  • Mushrooms
  • Quinoa
  • Broccoli

Plan Your Protein-Packed Meal

Another perk of plant-based proteins is their ability to play well with one another. In any single dish, you can include several of these options to double, triple, or quadruple up on your vegetarian protein sources!

To help get you started, we’ve put together a three-course meal using plant-based proteins:

Chickpea and lentil soup is a fantastic appetizer. This make-ahead dish tastes even better as leftovers and can be eaten hot, at room temperature, or even as a gazpacho.

For your main course, try quinoa stir fry. This dish gets meaty flavor from mushrooms and a hearty crunch from edamame and broccoli.

Dessert can have protein, too. No-bake pistachio chia seed pudding requires a bit of prep time for the homemade pistachio milk, but you can always substitute store-bought almond milk and add an extra handful or two of chopped pistachios instead.

All that’s left to do is enjoy this healthy, satisfying, and protein-packed meal!