A vegan diet can leave you protein deficient – this is a wrong myth surrounding a plant-based diet. However, you must know that certain plant foods contain significantly more amount of protein. Protein is an important macronutrient that promotes satiety while improving strength and boosting the immune system.
4 Protein-Rich Vegan Foods for Good Health
Below is a list of vegan protein sources that are great for your overall health.
While most plant foods don’t contain all nine essential foods that qualify them as a complete protein source, quinoa is an exception. We’re therefore placing this gluten-free ancient grain at the top of our list for protein-rich vegan foods.
One cup of cooked quinoa delivers 8 grams of high-quality protein, besides providing important micronutrients including magnesium, iron, folate, and fiber. Use quinoa to make your breakfast porridge or add it to your soups and salads for a protein boost. The neutral taste of this grain makes it versatile and can be used to whip many delicious recipes.
2. Tofu and Tempeh
Derived from soybeans, tofu and tempeh are both protein-rich vegan foods that provide all nine essential amino acids. Tofu is like cheese made by pressing together soymilk, while tempeh is made from fermented soybeans.
Providing almost 8-11 grams protein per 3 oz, tofu and tempeh also provide other important nutrients such as calcium and iron. Tofu and tempeh can both be used in stir fry dishes and work well with Asian flavors. Crumbled tofu or tempeh can be used to protein-rich vegan burger patties.
Providing an impressive 18-gram protein per cooked cup, lentils are a vegan powerhouse of proteins and nutrients such as manganese and folate. Plus, lentils include complex carbohydrates that prevent blood sugar spikes and are a rich source of insoluble dietary fiber that prevents constipation and promotes the growth of beneficial gut microbes.
Cooked lentils can be used to make creamy spice-infused soups and stews. Lentils, however, are not a complete protein. Eating them with a grain such as rice or quinoa will ensure you get all nine essential amino acids.
4. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a complete protein source with two tablespoons containing 4 grams of protein. They absorb water and swell up in size, attaining a soft and sticky texture. This makes them perfect for use in puddings or desserts. They can be used as an egg substitute in vegan baking.
Their neutral taste makes chia seeds very versatile, so you can add them to smoothies or salads to bump up your protein intake. Adding chia seeds to your diet will also ensure you’re getting healthy fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your overall health.
Switching to a plant-based diet has many health benefits, including lower risk of heart disease and cancer. However, most people worry about not getting enough protein on a vegan diet. With our list of protein-rich plant foods, you can rest assured that’ll you’ll receive enough protein.
The key to obtaining sufficient protein while being a vegan is to eat a variety of legumes, pulses, lentils, and whole grains, and combining them in certain instances to ensure you’re receiving all nine amino acids for high-quality protein.