Calling all vegetarians and vegans! Studies have found that the number of vegetarians in Australia has risen from 9.7% of Australians in 2012 to 11.2% today. Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan or sticking to a flexitarian or Meat Free Monday diet trend and looking to replace your protein source from meat to something more cruelty free here are 5 plant based protein options you can swap meat for to give you a good protein plant based dose.

1. Legumes

These bad boys tend to be a favourite amongst vegans and vegetarians alike! Their high in fibre and low content as well as many other benefits such as being high in vitamin B and iron (also important nutrients to supplement when cutting out meat) One cup of legumes contains 9 grams of protein. They can also make a great substitute for such things as veggie burgers for those days you want to bite into a hamburger or whipped up into a dip like humus or Mexican bean dip.

2. Soy

Soy contains roughly 7 grams of protein per serving as well as being high fibre they’re a good source of polyunsaturated fats which aid in lowering cholesterol and contain a multitude of benefits for your heart health. Edamame, black soy beans, soy nuts, soy flour, soy milk, tofu and silken tofu (great for adding to smoothies) are some of the various ways you can add more tsoy to your diet.

3. Hemp

Hemp contains 7 grams of protein / two tablespoons also contains all 21 essential and non-essential amino acids, and the optimum Omega 3: 6 profile. With a mild nutty flavor it can accompany both sweet and savory dishes and comes in many forms such as Hemp seeds, hemp milk, hemp oil, hemp flour and hemp protein powder.

4. Quinoa

Containing twice as much fiber than most grains it contains 8 grams of protein per cup. Dubbed “The gold of the Incas” who have been consuming it for thousands of years it is also high in magnesium and iron. Can be great to substitute grains with or you can mix it in with rice, salad or bread dishes you like to make.

5.Amaranth

Dubbed “The new quinoa” it is fast becoming a favourite amongst nutritionists for the gluten free grains. Containing 9 grams of protein / cup and is great in aiding with hair loss and lowering cholesterol. Having an earthy taste, it’s great to pop in soups, cooked meals, pastas or sprinkled on deserts.

By providing your body with quality protein you are giving it the amino acid building blocks to help your body produce strong hair, nails and collagen for your skin so make sure you’re getting enough!

This article originally appeared on Fittopia and has been republished with permission.

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