Daily Stable Foods

A huge problem for vegans and vegetarians is getting a proper balanced diet, especially the eight essential amino acids that can only be found in complete proteins. I know that I had NO idea what a complete protein was until I sat down and read about it in depth. And, guess what? I wasn’t really getting the amount of antioxidants and vitamins that I should be because I wasn’t aware of the nutrition I needed and what stable foods I had to eat to receive that nutrition. So, I am going to share with you what I have learned so far and am still learning. Feel free to share your thoughts! ūüôā

What Is Necessary Daily?  We need a good balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat daily. These should be obtained by eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, oils, dairy, lean protein, and healthy fats. The problem, however, is that vegans and vegetarians cannot obtain lean protein as easily as those who eat fish or turkey. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians have to focus our diets more around the following stable foods. The lists I provide below are only a few of my personal favorites, but do not limit you in any way from reaching for one of the other many options available at your local supermarket.

* means vegan options

Lean Protein:

  • Lentils and Legumes/Beans *
  • Sprouted Lentils and Legumes/Beans (click here to learn how to sprout)¬†*
  • Egg, Egg whites
  • Soybeans *
  • Tofu or tempeh *
  • Edamame *
  • Veggie Burgers *
  • Green Peas *
  • Hummus *
  • SunWarrior Vegan Protein Powder (completely plant-based) *

Vegetables:

  • Artichoke *
  • Asparagus¬†*
  • Beans, green *
  • Beets *
  • Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green) *
  • Bok choy *
  • Broccoli *
  • Brussel sprouts *
  • Cabbage *
  • Cauliflower *
  • Carrots *
  • Celery *
  • Cucumber *
  • Eggplant *
  • Kale *
  • Mushroom *
  • Okra *
  • Onions *
  • Pumpkin *
  • Radishes *
  • Seaweed *
  • Spinach *
  • Squash *
  • Sweet potato *
  • Zucchini *

Fruits:

  • Dried Fruit (dates, raisins, dried apricots, dried figs, coconut flakes, etc.) *
  • Apples *
  • Coconuts *
  • Bananas *
  • Grapefruit *
  • Berries *
  • Grapes *
  • Lemons/Limes *
  • Mangos *
  • Papayas *
  • Melons *
  • Peaches *
  • Pears *
  • Kiwis *
  • Oranges *
  • Pineapples *
  • Plums *
  • Pomegranates *
  • Prunes *
  • Tomatoes *

Whole Grains:

  • High-fiber cereals *
  • Granolas with low added sugars *
  • Whole grain breads (make sure first ingredient is whole wheat and not “enriched”) *
  • Whole grain pastas *
  • Oats *
  • Quinoa *
  • Bulgur *
  • Brown Rice *
  • Buckwheat *
  • Millet *
  • Popcorn *
  • Corn *
  • Rye *

Dairy:

  • Low-Fat/Nonfat Yogurt
  • Low-Fat/Nonfat Cheese
  • Skim/Nonfat Milk
  • Soy Yogurt¬†*
  • Soy Milk *
  • Almond Milk *
  • Coconut Milk *
  • EarthBalance Vegan Butter *
  • Coconut Butter *

Fats:

  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil *
  • Canola Oil *
  • Coconut Oil *
  • Sesame Seed Oil *
  • Flaxseed Oil *
  • Flaxseed Ground *
  • Chia seed *
  • Avocado *
  • Egg yolks
  • Dark chocolate *
  • Black olives *
  • Olive Tapenade *
  • Tahini Sauce (sesame seed paste) *

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Almonds *
  • Peanuts *
  • Walnuts *
  • Cashews *
  • Macadamia Nuts *
  • Pistachios *
  • Sunflower Seeds *
  • Hemp Seeds *
  • Pumpkin Seeds *
  • Almond Butter *
  • Sunflower Seed Butter *
  • Peanut Butter *

What foods are complete proteins? A complete protein is a food product that has all eight essential amino acids. Complete proteins are important to eat daily not only for fuel and nutrition, but also for those who wish to lose weight and get lean. The reason why is because proteins are used to repair your muscles and the higher your protein intake, the more calories are burned because your body uses more calories to digest healthy proteins. Vegan and vegetarian complete protein options are plant-based protein powders, quinoa, buckwheat, hemp, soy products (soybeans, edamame, tofu, etc.), eggs, cheese, yogurt, milk. By eating these foods, your body would get the necessary amino acids it needs. However, you can also combine foods to get all eight amino acids. Some popular combinations for complete proteins are listed below:

  • Legumes/beans and whole grain bread
  • Corn and beans
  • Hummus and whole grain pita bread
  • Nut butter and whole grain bread
  • Pasta and legumes/beans
  • Brown rice and legumes/beans, peas, or lentils
  • Pea soup with crackers or whole grain bread
  • Tortillas with beans
  • Veggie patty and whole grain bread
  • Oats and milk
  • Buckwheat and millet
  • Brown rice and peas
  • Tofu or tempeh and whole grain bread
  • Yogurt and nuts
  • Avocado and sprouts
  • Brown rice and nuts
  • Tofu and tahini sauce

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