I have a lot of clients that are interested in a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle but don't know where to start or think they may not be able to get enough protein in their diet. Now I know that this may not be for everyone, but I think a good place to start would be having at least one meal per week be plant-based or maybe an entire day. If you want to give it a try, then what are you going to eat? Have you ever thought about beans and legumes?
Beans and legumes are not only full of fiber, but they have a number of other health benefits like decreasing blood sugar and cholesterol levels and increasing healthy gut bacteria. They are also great sources of protein and B vitamins. Here is a breakdown for you:
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)—Great source of folate, fiber, and protein
1 cup serving = 270 calories, 14 g protein, 12 g fiber
Lentils—Good source of protein and tasty in soups and stews
1 cup serving = 230 calories, 18 g protein, 16 g fiber
Peas—Good source of fiber and prebiotics
1 cup serving = 120 calories, 8 g protein, 7 g fiber
Kidney Beans—High in fiber
1 cup serving = 215 calories, 13 g protein, 13 g fiber
Black Beans—Great source of fiber, protein, and folate
1 cup serving = 230 calories, 15 g protein, 15 g fiber
One of the easiest meals you can make with beans is making a grain bowl which are quick to assemble.
Easy Grain Bowl
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup roasted veggies of your choice
1 cup mixed salad greens
1/4 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
1 Tbsp feta cheese
(If storing for more than one day, store greens separately and combine with other ingredients just before serving.)
Check out this Grain Bowl post for even more inspiration. And for a couple of easy week night meals, try Easy Black Bean Soup or Gnocchi with Chard and White Beans.