These days, it’s pretty easy to get dragged into the whole ‘junk food’ diet. After all, the Standard American Diet is pretty unhealthy, and we’re surrounded by junk food everywhere. When you first cut animal products out of your diet, it’s easy to swap them for processed vegan equivalents – think processed chicken strips, tubs of vegan ice cream, accidentally vegan candy and cookies and the like.
It’s also pretty easy to eat junk food when eating out, like a whole plate of French fries or a big bag of potato chips, especially if you’re not sure how to find vegan options while out (check out this handy guide to eating clean while eating out). While these are fine as treat foods once in awhile, there are a whole host of great-for-you plant foods that also happen to taste great! If you want to improve your eating habits this summer, consider incorporating more of these five foods that healthy vegans are obsessed with.
Quinoa is a seed (often mistaken as a grain) which is a source of complete protein and is super-healthy to boot. A cup of it packs eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber, as well as providing manganese, magnesium, folate, copper and phosphorus. It has a tasty, nutty flavor and can be used as a substitute for rice in sushi, to make a burger with white beans, as a topping on salad like this quinoa-chickpea-cilantro salad, as a breakfast porridge for a super-healthy start to your day, or in this delicious-looking bolognese made with sweet potato noodles.
Kale seems to be popping up everywhere these days in the form of kale chips, which are even hitting supermarket aisles. But did you know that one cup of kale contains 1000% of your daily recommended vitamin K? It also contains 180% of your daily vitamin A, as well as providing iron, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin B6. You can easily make your own kale chips, or make kale Waldorf salad, sweet potato and kale patties, or kale risotto.
Did you know that good old blueberries, which you can pick up from any supermarket, are also a nutritional powerhouse? They are bursting with antioxidants (they contain more than any other fruit or vegetable), which fight off free radicals caused by smog, metabolic processes, cigarette smoke, pesticides etc. Antioxidants have also been shown to prevent memory loss. Eat them as they are as a dessert or treat, make this blueberry-acai smoothie, or treat yourself to a beautiful breakfast with this blueberry-oat parfait.
The Guardian predicts teff will beat out quinoa as a super grain. If you’re familiar with Ethiopian cuisine, you probably know and love injera bread, the spongy bread that Ethiopian curries come served with (and which you tear off and use to eat). But did you know the punch that teff packs? A cup of these tiny grains contains 123 mg of calcium, as well as being high in protein, iron, all the B vitamins (aside from B12) and vitamin C. Try making your own injera, use it in your gluten-free baking, or make these gluten-free goji muffins, which utilize both quinoa flour and teff flour!
No longer just for growing chia ‘hair’ on clay pot pets, chia seeds have now come into their own as an ingredient in cooking! They not only have the highest omega-3 content in nature, a tablespoon of chia seeds also contains three grams of protein and five grams of fiber. Use them as an egg substitute in baking, to thicken smoothies and puddings, and to make desserts like this super-healthy fruit tart!
Image source: 10 Protein Packed Vegan Lunch Ideas