Nutrients are essential for the growth of the body and mind, not just at an early age, but throughout our lives. To raise awareness about the importance of nutrition, the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s Food and Nutrition Board designated the first week of September (September 1 to September 7) as the National Nutrition Week in 1982. Since then, it has been observed annually through lectures, talks, and campaigns, all for the benefits of the people in the country.

Nowadays, there are several diets that one can follow that are suitable for their own bodies. From a ketogenic diet to a vegetarian one, most diets focus on providing the body with a balance of all types of nutrition to keep it healthy. Veganism is another such diet. It primarily includes the consumption of plant-based food products and excludes everything that is animal-based. In other words, vegans forsake the intake of all dairy products, eggs, and meat.

However, it is important to note that with the exclusion of meats and dairy products, vegans must look at alternate sources of nutrients to keep the body healthy.

Here are some examples of vegan foods that have a high nourishment value: 

Tofu: Tofu is the vegan version of cottage cheese or ‘paneer’. It serves as a direct substitute for these dairy products in all recipes. Even though it does not taste exactly like ‘paneer’, there are various dishes that go well with tofu and as it is a great source of protein, tofu can be the ideal addition to your vegan diet.

Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in proteins, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids. They can serve as a filling mid-meal snack, anytime of the day. Not only will these keep hunger at bay, it also provides the body with some much-needed protein. Each 100 grams of Flaxseeds contain a whopping 18 grams of protein. Whether you want to have them as a snack, add them to a smoothie, or as a dessert item, the choice is yours.

Lentils: Lentils too are commonly known for their high protein content. Considering the Indian diet that has ‘dal-chawal’ as the basic lunch meal, you can get your protein intake there. There is a variety of lentils that you can choose from, depending upon your preference. They taste good and also help in satiating hunger.

Beans: If you are looking for something a little more special in your vegan diet aside from lentils, beans are a good place to start. From black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas you can boil them to add to your salads, cook them to make delicious gravy or even make hummus. These beans will provide you with a healthy and filling meal, leaving no room for hunger. And if you are a new vegan who has recently given up meat, ‘Rajma’ with gravy is often quite similar in taste to chicken curry, which will certainly help you maintain your diet.

Edamame: Edamame is a green vegetable that has soybeans in its pods. It is very similar in looks to peas in a pod. It is a popular delicacy in Asia and Japanese and the simplest way to consume it is to boil it and add some salt. You can choose from a variety of spices to add to it as well. Edamame also contains high levels of protein which help the overall development of the body.

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National Nutrition Week: 5 protein sources to supplement your vegan diet – health

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