It's easier than ever to reach your protein intake and take a break from meat.

Approximately seven million Americans live a meat-free lifestyle.

While the research continues to grow on the benefits of plant-based diets, it can be challenging to give your body the protein and amino acids required to help build muscle, shed unwanted body fat, and absorb enough iron, vitamin B, and thiamin.

The good news is whether you’re a devout herbivore, or simply want an occasional reprieve from animal-centric routines, you can get ample protein daily without meat. Fill your plate with these protein-rich, multidimensional staples to help shrink your waistline and get nutrients to help keep you healthy.

Black beans: The nutrition in beans is plentiful – especially protein and fiber – and this incredibly versatile staple can be used in everything from eggs, chili, or stew (slow cooker, anyone?), salads, Mexican- and Spanish-influenced dishes, and even used as part of vegetarian (or traditional) burgers. Though it’s personal preference, rinsing whole beans or draining the liquid from cans before using them can reduce your sodium intake. Another bonus: Beans stay fresh for a long time, which makes them an excellent meal prep component.

Quinoa: A South American “superfood” whose popularity has soared in the past decade, quinoa is a gluten-free complete protein (eight grams per serving), which means it has essential amino acids your body can’t produce on its own. It, too, is about as versatile as you’ll find.

Nuts: While some nuts may be better for you than others, eating them in moderation is key, as is doing so without added oils or salt. They’re packed with protein, healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and vitamins. Besides making trail mix or eating them solo, toss them into baked goods, or use them as a topper on yogurt, cereal, and salads. You can even throw them into your protein shakes.

Vegetables: The “eat your colors of the rainbow” mantra is alive and well. Adding edamame, broccoli, peas, and asparagus to your diet not only provides vitamins, minerals, and fiber but also anywhere from three to nine grams of protein per serving.

As always, be sure to check out for more nutritious meal guidelines.