The legume family contains many high-protein foods, such as beans, lentils and peanuts. Legumes are plants that have pods containing rows of seeds inside, and these seeds are typically removed and dried prior to eating. Legumes tend to be low in fat and high in protein and fiber, and they are used in a variety of cuisines around the world, often instead of meat.
Beans are a significant part of the legume family. Chickpeas, black beans and pinto beans are all legumes, as are black-eyed peas, lima beans and navy beans. Peas and lentils are also legumes and can be eaten to provide the body with protein used to make amino acids to ensure healthy body functions. Some nutritionists recommend reducing the amount of meat in a meal and using legumes instead, since they are lower in fat and have several other health benefits.
Peanuts are also legumes, but they are often eaten roasted or ground, like tree nuts. Soybeans are legumes, but unlike beans and lentils, they tend to be consumed in other forms, such as in soy milk or tofu. Like these other legumes, both peanuts and soybeans contain many essential proteins that can have beneficial effects when eaten.