10 Best Protein Sources For Vegetarians and Vegans
Veganism and vegetarianism are becoming increasingly popular dietary choices, which implies that more individuals are concerned about acquiring enough nutrients, such as protein, in their plant-based diet. The good news is that as a vegan, you can easily meet your daily protein requirements. What’s the secret? It’s all about striking the right balance. If you end up becoming a “junk food vegan,” you may experience fatigue and a protein deficiency. A diet consisting solely of frozen vegan waffles and chips will not provide enough protein (or virtually any other nutrient) to meet your body’s energy requirements.
However, if you eat a plant-based diet and fill your plates with colorful produce, hearty grains, and filling spuds, you should have no trouble meeting your daily protein requirement. This list of ten protein sources will round out your plate and leave your body feeling nourished.
Soy protein can be a healthy part of a plant-based diet. Protein-rich foods like tofu, tempeh, edamame, and even soy milk are high in protein. The ubiquitous vegan protein is frequently associated with processed patties or mystery “meat” loafs, but this does not have to be the case. Try making a stir-fry with tempeh or tofu, steaming some edamame for an easy appetizer, or adding soy milk to your morning cereal. Soy isoflavones are heart-healthy and may help reduce muscle damage during exercise, so most experts recommend eating up to two servings of soyfoods per day.
Seitan is a common ingredient in plant-based diets. It is made with vital wheat gluten, the main protein in wheat, which results in a chewy and hearty texture that resembles meat in some dishes. Seitan has 20 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving. You can make your own seitan by purchasing vital wheat gluten, or you can purchase it precooked next to the tofu in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket or natural-foods store.
Seeds aren’t only for birds. Seeds can be a rich source of protein and fiber in a vegan diet, from sesame seeds ground into tahini to flax seeds sprinkled on oatmeal or baked into bread. Plant-based omega-3 fats can also be found in flax, chia, and hemp. Seeds are a particularly good protein source for people who are allergic to nuts. Spread sunflower seed butter on toast, make a salad dressing with tahini, or make chia seed pudding.
- Green Veggies:
Green vegetables, which are often overlooked when it comes to protein, provide more than just vitamins and minerals. Protein-rich foods such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, and green peas can help balance out your plate. Greens are also high in antioxidants, high in fiber, and low in calories. Cooked spinach can be added to pasta, green peas can be mixed into a curry, and Brussels sprouts can be roasted for an irresistible crispy side dish.
- Whole grains:
Whole grains, which are easy to eat at any time of day, can sneak extra protein into meals despite the fact that we typically think of them as carbohydrate sources. Many varieties are naturally high in protein, and they also provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Start your day with a warm bowl of oatmeal, keep lunch fresh with a quinoa salad, and end your evening with wild rice-stuffed peppers for dinner.
Because of its many unhealthy incarnations, the humble spud isn’t known for being a healthy food, but it’s actually a wholesome addition to your diet. One russet potato has 8 grams of protein, more potassium than a banana, and is high in fiber. Other varieties, such as red or sweet potatoes, do not contain as much protein, but they can still help you meet your daily protein requirements. Try mashed, roasted, baked, or scalloped potatoes of all kinds.
- Sprouted Grain Bread:
Sprouted grain bread, also known as Ezekiel bread due to the popular brand name, is a whole-grain baked good with high protein content. One slice contains 4 to 5 grams of protein, depending on the brand, which means that if you make a sandwich, you’re already starting with a whopping 10 grams of protein before you even add the fillings. Toast, breakfast strata, or breadcrumbs are some other ways to use sprouted-grain bread.
No plant-based pantry would be complete without a variety of nuts, which can be eaten as snacks or incorporated into recipes. Despite the small serving sizes, each contains a substantial amount of protein. Packing pre-portioned baggies of almonds for grab-and-go snacks, whisking peanut butter into sauces, and sprinkling walnuts on your next salad are all simple uses.
Legumes are a go-to for vegans looking to increase their protein intake because they are a low-cost base for many plant-based dishes. Beans and lentils, both high in plant protein, are included in the legume category. Lentil varieties can contain up to 18 grams of protein per cup (cooked), whereas beans can contain between 10 and 18 grams per cup, depending on the type. Lentils can be used as a taco filling, in chili, or as a curry base. Beans are extremely versatile; some of our favorite uses include blending them into hummus, forming them into fritters, and using them as baked potato toppers.
- Protein powder:
It can be the ideal choice for a vegan who is looking for a quick fix of protein for those who work out and even those who don’t. Best vegan protein powders are completely plant-based and can be a great addition if you are looking to reduce your weight or gain muscle. Origin nutrition is one of the best plant-based protein powders that is available in the market right now. Consumption of vegan protein powder for women has a lot of benefits.