A common misconception is that vegans are at risk of not getting enough protein. But the reality is, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! Many plant-based foods contain all essential amino acids, and there are also plenty of vegan protein powders on the market. Here’s a list of some ways for vegans to get more protein in their diet!
A complete vegan protein – meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is an ancient grain that has been used for generations as food by people living in the Andean Mountains. In addition to being high in protein, quinoa is rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, and B vitamins, including niacin and riboflavin. You can eat this superfood alone or add it to soups, salads, or stir-fries.
This blue-green alga is one of the world’s most nutrient-dense foods. It contains 60% protein by weight, and it’s also rich in iron, beta carotene, magnesium thiamine (B12), riboflavin, as well as calcium, and vitamin A. Today companies are coming out with vegan spirulina supplements that contain no fillers or binders, so vegans don’t need to worry about getting their fix of this nutrient-dense superfood.
Tempeh comes from fermented soybeans, giving it a unique and nutty flavor, unlike tofu or any other meat substitute. It’s high in protein (contains all essential amino acids) and calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B. Plus, it’s low in calories! You can use tempeh to make burgers, marinated skewers, or grilled with vegetables for a vegan take on steak.
Nuts & Nut Butters
Nuts are another great source of vegan protein. They’re high in fat, but this heart-healthy kind can help you lose weight and lower cholesterol levels! Cashews, almonds, peanuts (technically a legume), sunflower seeds, pistachios; all these nuts contain healthy fats as well as iron and magnesium. Nuts can be pricey, so make sure to check out bulk sections at natural food stores for deals on your favorite brands! Look for natural nut butter without added sugars or oils, which you can find in most grocery stores these days!
This ancient seed is another vegan protein powerhouse containing all essential amino acids and omega-rich fats. Chia seeds help lower cholesterol levels, promote healthy hair and skin, and they’re full of fiber, too, so they’ll keep you feeling fuller longer. Chia seeds work great sprinkled on salads, cereal, or yogurt just like flaxseeds do – it’s best not to cook them, though, because heat will kill their properties (or any other type of seed). Chia seeds are easy to digest, and they don’t have a strong flavor, so you can add them into pretty much anything!
Protein powders made from peas or other plants like hemp, brown rice, or even pumpkin protein give vegans another great way to get more protein in their diet. Pea protein powder is the best choice for plant-based eaters looking for vegan proteins because it’s lactose-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free too. Plus, it doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or sweeteners, making it an excellent health-conscious option. Most brands of pea protein isolate offer at least 20 grams of vegan proteins per serving but be sure to check the label before buying just to make sure.
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables around, so it’s no surprise that it’s also a great source of vegan protein. Whether you prefer to steam or blend your broccoli, try chopping up big florets and munching on them raw with a dip like hummus for a quick & healthy snack. Broccoli is also amazingly sauteed with garlic or on the side of any dish you’re making for a healthy dose of vegan proteins.
Oats And Oatmeal
Oats and oatmeal are great sources of vegan protein that taste delicious too! Try steel-cut oats, which contain more fiber than their rolled counterparts. Mix it up with overnight oats for a quick breakfast full of healthy proteins, fat, and carbohydrates. Oats also make an excellent addition to salads like this one made from spinach, flax seeds & carrots. Just be sure not to get instant oatmeal; while it cooks quickly, steel-cut is higher in nutrients and contains less sugar (plus it tastes better!).
For tofu, skeptics rest assured that it’s a great source of vegan protein. Tofu is made from soybeans, water, and a plant-based coagulant, then pressed into blocks that you can slice or dice for stir fry, salads, or other dishes. Firm tofu has the highest protein, but if you prefer something less dense, try medium tofu instead.
There are lots of awesome ways to get more protein in your diet. These vegan proteins offer all kinds of health benefits, so try one or two each day and see how you feel! Also, always get organic when you can, and be sure to check the labels of any plant-based foods for added sugars, salt, or other preservatives. Lastly, don’t be afraid to try new things! There are lots of vegan proteins out there, so get adventurous and have fun cooking.