If you play or watch basketball, you know how physically demanding the sport is on these athletes. Good nutrition is essential.

Damian Lillard is one of a growing number of NBA players switching to a plant based diet. Recently, in an interview with OregonLive Sports’ Jessica Greif and Sean Meagher. Lillard said,

“I feel much better. I thought it was all hype. I thought people just said it just because it was a healthier food but I can feel it. I can definitely feel it.”

If you want to not only enjoy feeling good while watching March madness, but have more energy, strength and feel lighter then try switching up your diet a little with these top 3 vegan protein sources.

 Even for one day such as meatless Monday can make a big difference for you and the planet. Enjoy!

1. Edamame

Edamame is cooked soybeans, that are a complete protein (Contain all 9 essential amino acids) and a cup contains about 29 grams of protein. That is the equivalent of about 5 eggs. They make a delicious snack or addition to a stir-fry or salad.

Simply buy a bag of frozen, shelled, organic edamame at your local grocery store. Then steam them (follow directions on the bag). And lightly salt to make a nutritiously dense, tasty food.

Edamame is also a good source of fiber, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals.

 

2. Quinoa

Quinoa is a seed from South America that resembles a grain that looks like couscous when cooked.  It is a complete protein and gluten free.

A cup of quinoa contains about 8 grams of protein. It is also high in fiber, rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium and calcium and score 53 on the glycemic index. (55 or below is considered low). So it won’t cause a dramatic spike in blood sugar levels.

It can be cooked in the same way as you would cook rice, and can be eaten in place of rice.

Quinoa can be made in a large batch then refrigerated or frozen in portion-sized amounts for convenience.

Try this delicious recipe, of Herbed Quinoa 

 

3. Nut butter

Nut butters make a great post work out protein source, as they can easily be added to a smoothie or eaten with sliced apple or banana as a snack.

Nut butters contain about 4 grams of protein per tablespoon. They are also high in healthy monosaturated fats and essential fatty acids.

Nuts and nut butters should be eaten in small amounts, as they are high in calories. A tablespoon or a handful a day is perfect.

Choose brands that are organic, raw or have very little added sugars or salt. Enjoy