Nuts and seeds are a great way to get some protein into your plant-based diet, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian or want to explore more options for healthy eating. There are so many options you can turn to and several ways to use them in various recipes. Here are just a few of the best nutrient-packed nuts and seeds to keep in mind when creating your plant-based diet plan, whether you’re craving a crunch or looking to spice up your lunch.
Plant-Based Diet Essentials:
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent option for any plant-based diet, and not just because of how versatile they are. It’s widely known that you can use them to make pudding, as an egg replacer and to add an extra kick to your smoothies, but that’s not all. Chia seeds can also help with digestion, in addition to being packed with vitamins like magnesium and iron to keep you healthy and energized.
You’re probably familiar with drinking almond milk, but there are also many benefits almonds have to offer on their own. They provide vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin and even fiber, which can be great for your gut health and digestion.
Pecans taste amazing and are also packed with various nutrients. They are high in unsaturated fats — also known as healthy fats — and also boast a great vitamin profile that includes magnesium and fiber. Pecans can benefit your brain, digestive system and skin, so snacking on them is definitely something you should do.
4. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are another versatile option that can go almost anywhere — sprinkle them over your oatmeal or toss them in your smoothie for a bit of protein and crunch. Their vitamin profile includes iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and B vitamins, so they definitely back a healthy punch.
5. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are another great seed to keep your eye on because they taste great, are versatile and offer various nutrients. They contain high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and healthy sodium that your body needs. These seeds offer a lot of vitamins and nutrients to keep you energized and filled up.
Cashews are a great option for snacking on and for a wide variety of plant-based recipes, from vegan cheese to delectable desserts. Luckily enough, they also have an excellent vitamin makeup to keep you healthy and full. Cashews win out on the healthy fats, but they also contain vitamin B6, vitamin K, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium.
7. Macadamia Nuts
Are you looking for something a little luxurious? Macadamia nuts are the perfect thing. They are decadent and delicious, and they also offer up healthy fats in addition to various vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin A, protein and riboflavin.
8. Pumpkin Seeds
If you want to get just a little seasonal, pumpkin seeds are all you need for that autumnal vibe — however, they can also serve as a great snack at any time of year. You can toast them plain or sprinkle them with cinnamon for an extra fall kick. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, magnesium, iron and potassium, so you’ll feel fresh and ready to take on the world after a handful or two.
9. Sunflower Seeds
Much like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds make a great snack on the go, and you can have them any time of the year. You can even put them on your lunchtime salad for a bit of crunch, and they also provide vitamin E, folate, phosphorus, selenium and magnesium.
Pistachios are great for snacking on and are versatile and distinct in flavor. They also contain vitamin B6 and thiamine, in addition to their ability to improve multiple health functions, like vision and gut health.
Nuts and Seeds Pack a Punch
No matter what kind of diet you follow, nuts and seeds can make a great addition to your sources of plant-based protein. From the classic almond to the seasonal pumpkin seed, there are so many healthy options to choose from. Snack on them solo or use them in your favorite recipes. Whatever you do, you’ll be getting an excellent form of protein that provides an interesting flavor profile and offers that satisfying crunch.
Photography by Annie Spratt