Amazing Vegan Protein Sources
Hands down, the number one question a vegan gets asked is, But where do you get your protein?! While vegan protein sources do indeed existand in many different forms and flavorsits not a totally out-of-left-field question, given that the main sources of protein most people are familiar with are animal products. The most popular types of food high in proteinbeef, chicken, fish, turkey, pork, and shellfish are all off limits on a vegan diet, of course. And so are some of the best high-protein vegetarian foods, like eggs, milk, yogurt, and whey protein powder.
Fortunately, though, there are plenty of tasty high-protein vegan foods you can enjoyyou just might need to be a little more intentional about it. Most vegans can do fine with proper meal planning, Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D.N., assistant professor in the UAB department of nutrition sciences, previously told SELF. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agrees that, generally, most people following vegan and vegetarian diets meet or exceed their protein needs, as long as they are consuming enough calories in general.
Can Vegans Get Enough Protein To Build Muscle
Recent research has shown that when it comes to athletics, vegan diets stack up well to omnivores :
Both groups were comparable for physical activity levels, body mass index, percent body fat, lean body mass, and muscle strength. However, vegans had a significantly higher estimated VO2 max and submaximal endurance time to exhaustion compared with omnivores.
Im telling you right now from experience that it will take more meal planning as a vegan, but you can be just as good of an athlete as you were before going vegan. There may even be health benefits.
I played multiple seasons of semi-professional soccer after going vegan, and it helped me if anything .
How Much Protein Is There In My Food
If we look at vegetarian ingredients, all the lentils beans, grains, milk, curds/yogurt, paneer, tofu, nuts like almonds, peanuts are all rich in protein. Let’s have a look at some of the protein rich vegetarian ingredients.
- 1 cup milk- 8 gram protein
- 1 cup curds/dahi- 17 grams
- 1 cup paneer- 20 grams
- 1 cup soyabean- 68 grams
- 1 cup chickpeas 38 grams
- 1 cup kidney beans- 16 grams
- 1 cup masoor, udad, arhar dal- about 16-20 grams
- 1 cup wheat flour- 13 grams
- 1 cup barley flour- 23 gram
- 1 cup oat flour- 12 gram
- 1 cup semolina- 23 gram
- 1 cup white rice- 5 grams
- 1 cup peanuts- 38 grams
- 1 cup Amaranth- 28 grams
- 1 cup buckwheat flour- 6 grams
- 1 cup green peas- 8 grams
- 100 grams fenugreek leaves-4 grams
- 100 grams mustard greens- 2.5 grams
- 1 cup cauliflower- 2 grams
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Can You Get Enough Protein As A Vegan Athlete
Being vegan can have its challenges for athletes and those who exercise, as it is important to ensure there is adequate energy and protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as some key nutrients such as vitamin B12, zinc and iron, as well as calorie intake.
A recent study by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that vegan diets can be more difficult to maintain and that there may be some issues around digestion and absorption of key nutrients, but with careful management and some supplementation, a vegan diet ‘can achieve the needs of most athletes satisfactorily‘.
How Much Protein Is There In Plants
Plenty! Plant foods can provide all the essential amino acids. These nutrients are protein building blocks that cannot be made by your body. Ensure that most of your meals contain good sources of protein, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, soya alternatives to milk and yoghurt, or peanuts.
Need more information? Read our detailed PDF.
You can compare your diet to our guidelines using the free VNutrition app.
These are general guidelines about nutrition. If you have concerns about your diet, please talk to your doctor about seeing a dietitian.
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Top 10 Sources Of High Protein Vegan Foodreading Time: 9 Min
The vegan-cruelty-free movement is gaining momentum The vegan lifestyle is all about meeting your protein needs through a plant-based diet without relying on any animal products at all. Thats right no meat, no fish, no dairy. The traditional belief that animal proteins are denser seems so dated now.
But exactly how easy is it to substitute your meaty proteins? Is there even high protein vegan food readily available?
Fortunately, there are several vegan protein sources that can meet your needs, help you build muscle, recover after an intense workout, and helps you shed a few pounds in the process.
In this blog, we will discuss the best high protein vegan food sources for vegans, how much protein they contain, and some tips on how to incorporate them into your diet. So read on and get to know some of the top 10 sources of high-protein vegan food
Tips For Increasing Your Protein Consumption
Our beans page offers advice about how to prepare beans in ways that maximize digestibility. You may find that tofu, tempeh, and soy-milk easier to digest than other bean-based foods. Alternately, nuts, seeds, and quinoa are all rich in protein, and easily digested.
If you dont how beans taste or you have trouble digesting them, you should seek out other high-protein foods. Nuts, seeds, and nut butters are all delicious and abundant in protein. Oatmeal and whole wheat bread are also among the most protein-rich vegan foods.
Protein powders can be a godsend to anyone who cant tolerate beans or nuts. They provide a big dose of protein, in a form thats more digestible than bean-based meals. Most brands of protein powder deliver about 20 grams of lysine-rich protein per serving. Orgain makes an all-organic vegan protein powder that sells for half the price of other brands. Buy a shaker cup and you wont have to clean your blender each time you prepare a serving.
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Plant Vs Animal Protein
Proteins are made of chains of tiny molecules identified as amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in nature, with 11 considered non-essential. The body can synthesize them without supplementing your diet .
The remaining nine essential amino acids are sourced from the diet. They include
Animal products such as fish, dairy, eggs, and beef often contain sufficient amounts of essential amino acids. As such, they are usually classified as complete proteins .
Except for a selected few, most plant sources are often low in quantity for one or more essential amino acids. Thus, earning the tag incomplete proteins .
However, with careful dietary planning, you can still get the required amount of amino acids in your vegan diet. It may involve eating a varied diet and combining complementary plant proteins.
How To Determine If You’re Eating Enough Protein As A Vegan
Those who aren’t sure they’re meeting their protein goals can easily figure that out. Download a food tracking app, such as Cronometer or MyFitnessPal, and record your regular diet for several days. Keep an eye on your protein intake and see if you’re hitting your daily number. In general, the recommendation is to get 10-35% of your total calorie intake from protein, per the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That’s about 200 to 700 calories for a 2,000-calorie per day diet.
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If you find you aren’t getting enough protein, try incorporating more of the suggested foods below into your meals. Remember, if you have another reason to need extra protein, such as being pregnant or following a rigorous training schedule at the gym, then it’s a good idea to consult a registered dietitian and pay closer attention to tracking your protein intake.
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Beans Peas And Lentils
Pulses are not considered complete protein sources as they tend to contain fairly small amounts of two important essential amino acids methionine and cysteine. However, since pulses are otherwise rich protein sources and deliver the bulk of this macronutrient in most plant-based diets, they deserve a mention.
According to a review published in the Journal of Medicinal Food , pulses provide a hefty dose of dietary fiber, iron, zinc, folate, calcium and magnesium, as well as a wide range of phytochemicals with strong antioxidant and antimutagenic properties. Due to their low glycemic index, they may also help you to lose weight and keep your blood sugar under control.
Beans and lentils play an important role in regulating blood pressure, blood lipid profile and blood glucose metabolism, as well as reducing systemic inflammation and protecting against cardiovascular diseases. Although, some sensitive individuals may find pulses hard to digest.
Cooked pulses work great with most salads, soups and plant-based main meals, particularly stews and curries.
- A cup of boiled pulses provides anywhere from 15g up to 39g of protein
Complete List Of 26+ Best Vegan Protein Sources
November 13, 2018 by Lacey Bourassa
Theres no denying the importance of protein for the human body to function properly. However, that doesnt mean that meat is your only source of this important macronutrient.
There are a ton of vegan proteins out there, but you may not recognize them as foods that are high in protein.
For example, you might think of nuts and seeds as healthy fats and nut butters and hummus as condiments. While this true, these are also great examples of vegan protein sources.
If protein is important to you, youll want to know the best vegan proteins that will keep you full and help you meet your protein requirements.
Fortunately, vegan proteins are both common and easy to prepare.
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Enjoyed This Read More
This article was last updated on 23 March 2022 by Tracey Raye.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council . Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.
Vegan Diets May Lead To Nutritional Deficiencies Without Careful Planning
That said, its important to keep in mind that not all vegan diets will be equally beneficial.
While well-planned vegan diets made up of mostly minimally processed foods are considered beneficial for all stages of life, those including large amounts of ultra-processed plant foods are not (
Sprouting, fermenting, and cooking foods in cast-iron cookware can further enhance your bodys ability to absorb the nutrients contained in plant foods .
Minimizing your intake of processed plant foods, while increasing your intake of whole or minimally-processed ones can help reduce the risk of experiencing nutrient deficiencies.
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Meat Substitutes High In Protein
The classic substitute for meat when looking to add protein to a vegan dish, tofu is made from curdled soy milk that has been formed into a solid block. One of the many advantages of tofu is its great versatility in terms of the range of different dishes that it can be used in. Plus, just 100 grams of tofu contains 8 grams of protein. Tofu is particularly prized as a vegan protein option because it is a complete protein, containing all nine of the essential amino acids.
An increasingly popular soya option is tempeh, a form of fermented tofu from Indonesia. Tempeh is both healthier and, in many peoples opinion, tastier than regular tofu. As well as its use in Asian dishes, tempeh is increasingly popular as a vegan bacon substitute for sandwiches and burgers. Tempeh also packs much more of a protein punch than its plainer cousin, amounting to an awesome 19 grams of protein per 100 grams of tempeh.
The typical meat substitute with the highest quantity of protein per 100 grams is seitan. Derived from wheat gluten, seitan is the classic mock meat used for many centuries in Asian cuisine as a means of creating dishes that have the flavor and texture of meat. It contains a whopping 25 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Why Protein Rich Foods Should Be A Part Of Your Diet
Proteins are building blocks of your body called amino acids, which are essential for cell growth and development. Did you know that major organs of our body are primarily made of proteins? Even your skin and hair. According to a study published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, less consumption of protein can negatively affect your muscle and physical strength, especially in older adults. On the other hand, including a diet high in protein can improve muscle strength and aid weight loss.
Whether or not you are a vegan, an adequate intake of protein is a must for your body. However, if you have been struggling with finding the right sources of protein ever since you turned vegan, worry not!
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What Foods Are Good For Protein
Most people are aware of the fact that protein is vital for a healthy diet. We have all heard that humans and other animals need protein in our diets because we cant live without it. However, few of us realize that protein is essential to the human body. Proteins are necessary for muscle repair and growth. Proteins are also involved in cell repair and growth. Your body produces most of the proteins that it needs on its own, but if you dont consume enough protein, you can experience protein deficiency. Protein deficiency can have a detrimental effect on your health, so its important to ensure that you eat enough protein in your diet. One of the best sources of protein in the diet is meat. Other excellent sources of protein are eggs, fish, milk, and nuts.
Foods To Focus On In A High Protein Vegan Diet
If we group together the foods near the top of the lists above, there are 4 general types that we should focus on:
- Nuts Decent amount of protein per 100 grams, but also a lot of fat, which means a lot of overall calories. They are a great snack food to take around, or you can mix in nut butters like peanut butter with something like a smoothie.
- Legumes The most balanced vegan protein source in terms of protein and calorie density. Theyre quite cheap , and a staple for most vegans. They dont score that well on the lists above because they have a lot of fiber and water. The absolute best legume products for protein are soy-based .
- Seeds Seeds like flax and chia both have a good amount of protein, and are also some of the best vegan sources of omega 3 fats. However, you can only eat so many of these, typically sprinkled on top of salads or oatmeal. Tip: Ground seeds will absorb much better than whole seeds.
- Grains Grains have a bit of protein , and theyre pretty useful if you need to eat a lot of food trying to gain weight.
If youre interested in a bit more detail about things like amino acids in those foods and complete proteins, see my page on the best vegan food sources of protein.
To get a lot of protein, focus on eating as many legumes as you can. Grains, seeds, nuts, and leafy greens can also contribute a significant amount.
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Chickpeas And Green Peas
Chickpeas and green peas are fantastic sources of plant-based protein, fibre and vitamins. They make a great snack or addition to salads, soups or as main course dishes. In fact, you can prepare them in so many ways who can resist a delicious hummus dip?
Make sure to include chickpeas and green peas in your diet on a regular basis theyll definitely help you feel fuller for longer periods of time and enjoy optimal health benefits along the way! Boiled chickpeas offer an impressive 9 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Vegan Meats And Dairy Alternatives
Animals arent protein sources theyre our friends. There are so many vegan meats, non-dairy milks, and other plant-based foods that are high in protein, mind-blowingly delicious, and so much healthier that you wont even have time to crave animals bodies, eggs, or milk.
Nutritional Yeast 9 grams of protein per two tablespoons : Good source of fibre, zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese, and all the B vitamins, including B12
Seitan 25 grams of protein per 100 grams : Great source of selenium
Soy Milk 8 grams of protein per cup : Great source of potassium, isoflavones, and vitamins A and B12, and often fortified with calcium and vitamin D
Tempeh 41 grams of protein per cup : Great source of probiotics, B vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium and phosphorus
Tofu 20 grams of protein per cup : Great source of calcium, manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, magnesium, zinc, and thiamine
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