With considerations with the environmental and moral impacts of the meat industry, more and more students are opting for a plant-based diet. However, in the transition from eating meat to a vegan or vegetarian diet, there are some nutritional balances and adjustments that need to be considered in order to make sure your diet is as healthy as possible. One of these is ensuring you have enough protein. Protein helps strengthen and repair your muscles, bones as well as aiding in the production of important hormones and enzymes. However, some meat alternatives can be somewhat pricey. Here are some great protein sources for students on a budget.
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Tofu is one of the richest plant-based sources of protein. It’s commonly available in most grocery stores, so it’s not a health food store exclusive. It also has the added benefit of being easy to cook as well as versatile. It’s a great addition to a noodle stir fry, with rice and vegetables, or wrapped in a burrito. Tofu is not known for tasting great on its own, but you can flavour it with any number of sauces and spices, or marinate it before you cook it.
Chickpeas are another great source of protein. You can eat them in the form of hummus with breadsticks, crisps or vegetables to dip — either store bought or home made. They also make a great addition to salads with tomatoes, herbs and dressing. Or, you can roast them and eat them like snacks.
Nuts also provide a good portion of protein for your diet. Almonds and peanuts in particular have a high proportion of protein in them compared to other nuts. You can have them in bread, on porridge, pancakes, waffles or anywhere else you see fit. They can also incorporate nicely into a stir fry.
Another of the great go-to protein sources for students is beans and rice. These ingredients tend not to provide adequate protein separately, but together make the perfect combination. Kidney, pinto, and black beans are all great options. Not only will they help you gain more protein, but they can also help reduce cholesterol.
Whole grains are a great addition to any diet. One of the most popular option is oats, which can be enjoyed as a sweet or savoury dish. Buckwheat and cornmeal are both high in protein and great in pancakes. Or, you can try popped sorghum instead of popcorn the next time you have a movie night.
See also: Eating Healthy On A Student Budget