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The smart way to eat less meat

The smart way to eat less meat
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You’ve no doubt heard that cutting back on beef, pork, and poultry can be good for your heart, as the Mayo Clinic points out. But your body still needs protein, right? No worries – you can get what you need from healthy veggie sources, says dietitian Ginger Hultin.

Lentils (1 cup of cooked lentil = 18 grams of protein)

Lentils (1 cup of cooked lentil = 18 grams of protein)
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Lentils could be the new red meat. One cup has almost 37 per cent of your daily value of iron, not to mention the almost 16 grams of fibre it has to fill you up (and stop you from reaching for that mid-afternoon doughnut). “There is evidence that plant-based diets, likely due to their high fibre content, support a diverse microbiome in the human gut so the high fibre content of lentils could have systemic benefits,” says Hultin.

Interested in a high-protein diet? Here’s how to get started.

Edamame (1 cup of edamame = 18.5 grams of protein)

Edamame (1 cup of edamame = 18.5 grams of protein)
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Along with protein, edamame is another rich source of fibre. One cup provides 8 grams, the amount you would find in a few slices of bread. Ditch the bread with that salad, and instead add a heaping cup of edamame. Like all soy foods, edamame contains antioxidants known as isoflavones, which may account for their many health benefits, including protecting you against heart disease, notes Hultin.

Almonds (28 grams = 6 grams of protein)

Almonds (28 grams = 6 grams of protein)
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Almonds are the perfect snack to bring with you anywhere you go. Just 28 grams, or 23 almonds, contains a massive amount of nutrients including fibre, protein, vitamin E, and much more. And thanks to the fibre and fat, almonds are also very filling, so they can satisfy your hunger between meals.

Read on for the link between complex carbohydrates and fibre.

Seitan (85 grams = 15 grams of protein)

Seitan (85 grams = 15 grams of protein)
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Seitan is a protein source made from wheat gluten. When cooked it looks similar to meat and even has a meat-like texture. This source of plant-based protein also contains small amounts of iron and calcium, minus the saturated fat that meat has. Seitan can be grilled, sauteed, and pan-fried to easily be incorporated into a variety of recipes.

Don’t miss these silent signs you could be eating too much protein.

Hemp seeds (3 tablespoons = 9 grams of protein)

Hemp seeds (3 tablespoons = 9 grams of protein)
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“Hemp seeds are high in protein, and can be added into a variety of foods,” says Hultin, like baked goods, soups, pancakes, yoghurt, and salads. They also contain potassium (good for your heart and blood pressure) as well as iron.

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Quinoa (1 cup of quinoa = 8 grams of protein)

Quinoa (1 cup of quinoa = 8 grams of protein)
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Quinoa is packed with protein, fibre, iron, copper, thiamine, and vitamin B6. No wonder it’s called a super grain! Quinoa also helps you get to your daily dose of calcium, magnesium, and manganese, essential nutrients for bone health. Replace rice with quinoa at your next meal.

Nutritional yeast (1/4 cup = 5 grams of protein)

Nutritional yeast (1/4 cup = 5 grams of protein)
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“People often use nutritional yeast in dairy replacement sauces, including cheese sauces, because of its savoury, salty flavour,” says Hultin, who’s also made the swap and says it tastes great. Nutritional yeast is sold in the form of yellow powder or flakes. Besides the protein boost, you’ll also get 2 grams of fibre.

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons = 7 grams of protein)

Peanut butter (2 tablespoons = 7 grams of protein)
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Did you know peanut butter is a diet food? It has the perfect combination of protein, healthy fat and fibre to keep you satisfied. Additionally, one serving, or two tablespoons, of this rich-tasting goodness has tons of vitamin E, vitamin B6 and potassium. Buy a brand with no added sugar and salt. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to stir natural peanut butter.

Cola and chicken? Peanut butter and burgers? These are the ultimate weird food combinations.

Peas (1 cup of green peas = 8 grams of protein)

Peas (1 cup of green peas = 8 grams of protein)
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“Peas are a wonderful vegetable,” says Hultin: “They are a low glycaemic food, and among their many benefits, they are high in vitamin K, B vitamins, vitamin C and fibre.” Vitamin K has been linked to bone health, the higher your intake, the denser your bones are. So pile them on top of a salad or serve a side of these green goodies with dinner!

Read on for tips on the best bone health.

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