Beans and Lentils
3+ servings per day
Beans and lentils provide a hefty dose of protein, and many are also great sources of iron. Kidney beans, split peas, and tofu (tofu is made of soybeans) are some of the best sources of both.
Nuts and Seeds
2+ servings per day
Nuts and seeds are not only great sources of protein and iron; they also support a healthy immune system. Some of the best options are peanut butter, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
4+ servings per day
Vegetables are pretty much the healthiest foods on the planet. The most nutrient-packed include kale, broccoli, spinach, and peppers.
Grains and Starchy Vegetables
5+ servings per day
Grains and starchy vegetables are great sources of fiber, iron, and protein. These delicious foods will give you the energy to stay active! Brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes are a few of the healthiest options.
2+ servings per day
Fruit is great for hydration and is a fantastic source of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Apples, oranges, blueberries, and blackberries are some of the most nutritious.
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Vitamins B12 and D
Whether black or pinto, kidney or chickpea, beans are cheap, easy to cook, and chock-full of protein. Pop open a can and stuff them into a burrito, mix them with seasoned rice, or drop them into a pot of soup—beans can do it all.
Nuts and Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is always a great go-to snack, and nuts can do even more. Adding walnuts, almonds, cashews, or other nuts to your cereal, salads, and stir-fries is an easy way to add a protein-packed crunch. Or just eat them right out of the jar.
From burgers to sausages and nuggets, plant-based meats are loaded with juicy protein. They’re perfect for quick and easy sandwiches, barbecues, and entrées that will impress even your most carnivorous friends.
Delicious as a soup or with onions and carrots over a bed of rice, lentils are a worldwide favorite. And each serving packs a heap of iron and protein.
A perfect start to a cold winter morning, oatmeal is brimming with iron and fiber to power your day. Glam it up with nuts, dried or fresh fruit, maple syrup, cinnamon, brown sugar, and almond milk.
Great in your morning cereal or smoothie, soy milk boasts as much protein as cow’s milk without the cholesterol. Try different flavors, like original, vanilla, or chocolate, to find your favorite.
Get Enough to Eat
Progress, Not Perfection
Because of the high oxygen and recovery demands of athletes, clean plant-based foods may provide a competitive edge by upping antioxidant and phytochemical intake. Be sure to eat enough calories and scarf down high-protein options, like plant-based meats, beans, lentils, and nuts.
One of the greatest gifts parents can give their children is a habit of healthy eating through varied plant-based meals. Encourage kids to eat a wide selection of fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and beans. If your child isn’t eating any animal products, be sure to also provide B12 and D vitamins.
While expecting, be sure to eat plenty of protein- and iron-rich foods, like beans, lentils, nuts, and vegetarian meats; omega-3 fats (for brain development) from flax seeds, walnuts, and leafy greens; and vitamin C-filled foods, like fruit, broccoli, and kale.