This article originally appeared in Shape.
A plant-based diet can boost your immunity, make your heart healthier, and help you live longer, research shows. And it can also provide you with all the protein you need.
"You just have to be a little more mindful in your planning," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D.N., the author of The Flexitarian Diet (Buy It, $17, amazon.com) and a Shape Brain Trust member. "The key is to eat a variety of foods to get the optimum amount of protein, plus the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body requires," she says.
Follow these simple steps to hit your plant-based protein goals, whether you're trying a Meatless Monday or are transitioning to a full-on vegan diet.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
"Active women need 0.55 to 0.91 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day, according to the American College of Sports Medicine," says Blatner. Go for the higher amount if you're doing intense training. "That will help you repair, build, and maintain muscle," she says. With that in mind, it's recommended that an adult woman who's 150 pounds consume between 83 and 137 grams per day, for example. If you start to feel hungry between meals or irritable, jittery, or headachy, you may need to add more plant-based protein to your day. (Read more here: Exactly How Much Protein You Need Per Day)