Winter is a great time to rethink eating habits. The new year often has people looking for lighter fare and turning over new leaves in their lives.
My family is looking to consume less animal protein this year, so we’re searching for high-protein vegetables to stand in for meat. We’ve got a five-year-old with big convictions about not eating animals—plus, we know that the production of meat is a big green house gas hog—so now we just need some alternatives.
According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should aim to consume 50 to 175 grams of protein per day (or 10 percent to 35 percent of your daily total calories). Vegans and vegetarians need to pay attention to their protein intake to keep their bones and muscles strong. Hair loss and fatigue are symptoms of protein deficiency. Thankfully, a few cups of select veggies is all you need to reach your protein goals without meat.
Also called soya beans, soybeans are what both tofu and soy milk are made from. These beans boast of 28 grams of protein per cup, which is half of your protein needs for the day in one serving! Try out the soybean and potato curry from heneedsfood. This blogger has a curry tree in his backyard, so you know his curry dishes will be delicious.
I was surprised to learn that the common green pea we all grew up eating (and hiding in our napkins) as kids has 9 grams of protein per cup. Hooray! Try this easy vegan pea side dish from The Veggie Girl that your children will gobble up—and certainly not roll up in their (cloth) napkins.
You probably first got to know edamame as an appetizer at your favorite sushi place. They are immature soybeans that are boiled or steamed in the pod, salted, and then often served as a stand-alone dish. But you don’t have to only eat them salted.
This yummy ginger soy-glazed edamame recipe from Veggie Belly offers you a whole new set of flavors for the vegetable. Regardless of how you eat them, popping the beans from their pods is fun for both you and your kids. (Everyone loves finger food, right?)
Lentils are a mainstay protein for vegetarians for a good reason. These little guys not only come in lots of fun colors (brown, black, green, red, and yellow!) but also offer 18 grams of protein per cup. They are a standard in soups, sides, and even flavorful main courses.
These little dark green beans are also called moon beans or green grams. They are a staple food in China, where they’re used in both desserts and main dishes. You’re most familiar with them in America as their baby bean sprouts, which are often found in soups. Just a quarter cup of these little guys provides 12 grams of protein. I’m itching to make this mung bean and kale soup from Delicious Shots.
Do you have more favorite high-protein vegetables to add to the list that really pack a protein punch? Let us know on Twitter!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.