10 Best Vegan Protein Sources: How to Get Enough Protein on a Vegan Diet
Vegan diets don’t have to be low in protein, in fact they can be above the protein content of a ‘Meat-eater’. These 10 vegan protein sources make it easy to get your protein fill if you’re eating a plant-based diet.
If you vegan or have come out as Vegetarian, I am sure you have been asked: “How do you get your protein?”
Before we dive right into all the unexpected and delicious ways to expand your protein horizons, let’s take a realistic look at how much protein we actually need in a day!
We should aim to get about 10% – 35% of our daily calories from protein. For us women, that’s around 46 grams a day, and for men, 56 grams a day. Sounds doable, right?
1. Green Veggies
Let’s start with what you might already have in the fridge. Even though vegetables are not very high in protein compared to some other foods, many of them contain good amounts of protein relative to their calorie content. Did you know that one cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein? The same serving of French beans has about 13 grams. Two cups of cooked kale? 5 grams. One cup of boiled peas? Nine grams. Not bad, right?
2. Nuts: Peanuts & Almonds.
Find ways to include your peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter into your diet. A couple of tablespoons of any one of these will get you 8 grams of protein. If you get tired of eating it straight from the jar, make some peanut butter granola bars!
This superfood is known for its high protein content, and with good reason. The seed contains eight grams of protein per cup. Plus, it’s considered a complete protein, meaning it packs all nine essential amino acids your body needs. It’s versatile, delicious and delivers about 9 grams of protein per cup. Quinoa is also a great source of iron and fiber.
The obvious one! But for a reason has tofu earned its positions as the most commonly known vegan protein! Tofu is very versatile and can be prepared in many ways. Use it for baking and stir-frying, or blend it into soups to make them creamier and higher in protein. Four ounces of tofu will get you about 9 grams of protein.
So many reasons to lovelentils! With lentils, you can make rice dishes, soups, veggie burgers, lentil bolognese, casseroles and more. One cup cooked delivers a whopping 18 grams of protein!
A vegan’s BFF -especially if you’re on a budget! With one cup of pinto, kidney or black beans, you’ll get about 13-15 grams of protein, a full belly and loads of fiber which aids digestion. Why not add some refried beans to your fave dinner sides?
Cooked chickpeas are high in protein, containing around 7.25 g per ½ cup. Add them to stews and curries, like my vegan chickpea curry, or toss them in olive oil, spiced them with salt, cumin, oregano, paprika and roast them in the oven.
This fermented soyfood is one of the top vegan protein sources! One cup of tempeh packs about 30 grams of protein! That’s more protein than a 5 egg scramble or a regular beef hamburger patty. I like to steam it and drench it in my homemade chimichurri sauce.
Love your bowl of morning oats first thing in the morning? Awesome! Because oatmeal is a whole grain, it does have protein in it. One cup of cooked gluten-free oats carries six grams of protein, that’s the equivalent to about one ounce of meat.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds are rich in fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Try adding chia seeds to a smoothie, sprinkle them on top of a bowl of plain yogurt or soaking them in water or almond milk to make a delicious chia pudding. They also work as an excellent replacement to egg in vegan cooking.
The Grind Greenery
Guys, I can’t stress enough that plant-based foods can be a great source of protein! Whether you’re vegan or just trying to cut down on the meat, there is a real benefit in reducing animal proteins in your diet and it does not have to feel like you’re sacrificing anything!