If you consider being a vegan, you must obviously be worried about your protein intake, and whether you’ll get enough protein from your foods. Protein is one of the most important things in your body that makes the cells and your muscles. It is easily available in animal products. However, fulfilling your needs from the plant-based diet is a tough course, to begin with. Generally, an average adult person will need 50-60 grams of protein on a regular basis, and more if he/she is under the active workload. Fortunately, there are a number of foods available for vegetarians and vegans as solid sources for protein. We are going to count solid protein source as those foods that contain about 10 grams or more proteins per serving.
The right plant-based foods are able to be really excellent protein source along with other nutrients and in most cases, with lower calories than the animal products. Some of the foods like soybeans or quinoa etc. are complete proteins, ensuring all the essential amino acids (9 amino acids) for you. In the case of others, they usually do not contain all of them, so you should be aware that you will have to take a variety of them to get the required amount.
High protein vegan foods
According to research, the required daily amount for protein is dependent upon a person’s age and sex. Pregnancy, activity level, and health status also affect your needs. However, to get a good sense of what your daily protein intake should be in grams, take your weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.36. For example, a 150-pound (68kg) adult would want to consume about 55 grams of protein per day.
Plant foods that are high in protein are split peas, lentils, chickpeas, seitan, and soy meats, black beans, edamame, kidney beans, tofu, soymilk, peanuts, tempeh, and quinoa.
Some people may think of animal products and especially meat as a protein, but many of them are mostly fat. A very low-fat, plant-based diet might improve someone’s health for only short-term, especially if they have high cholesterol, but it might not be ideal for longer periods. Research has shown that eating nuts, which are high in fats, can improve heart disease.
Are vegan diets beneficial
Vegan diets seem to be most beneficial in improving heart disease risk factors. Studies revealed that those who consumed a vegan diet ate the most fiber, the least total fat, and saturated fat, and had the healthiest body weights and cholesterol levels compared with other vegetarians.
Health benefits for vegan diets: A vegan diet can provide many health benefits. Vegans have lower rates of high blood pressure, lower risk of type 2 diabetes, lower risk of cancer, and lower cholesterol levels. Eating some high-protein plant foods could leave you wanting more animal products or feeling fatigued. Legumes such as beans, peanuts, peas, lentils, soy, seitan, and quinoa are the best sources of protein for vegans. You can include a few servings of these foods in your diet each day.
Let’s check out some of the best protein foods
Tofu, tempeh, and edamame: Sou products like tofu, edamame, and tempeh etc. are some of the richest foods of protein for vegan diets. The content of the protein varies depending on how the food is prepared. Firm tofu contains 10g of protein per 1/2 cup. Edamame and tempeh contain about 8.5g and 15g of protein per 1/2 cup respectively.
Tofu can really change the flavor of a dish and so, it can be really a versatile addition for your meal. Tofu can also be your meat substitute in your favorite soups and sandwiches. The soy products contain a very good level of additional nutrients like calcium and iron for fortifying your health.
Red/green lentils contain a good amount of protein, fiber and key nutrients like potassium, iron etc. Cooked lentils contain about 8.84g of protein per 1/2 cup. Lentils are great to add to your dinner or lunch. You can add them to salads, curries or even rice for that extra protein boost.
Cooked chickpeas contain a high amount of protein, about 7.25g per 1/2 cup. You can eat chickpeas cold or hot. It is also highly versatile with a number of recipes. For example, you can easily enjoy them in spices with paprika, curries and even roasted in the oven. You can add hummus which is a nice alternative of butter that is made of chickpea paste, to your sandwichs for a healthy, nutritious diet.
Peanuts are full of nutrients like proteins and healthful fats that will improve your heart health. Per 1/2 cup, you will get about 20.5g of proteins! Peanut butter is also a popular choice with 8g of protein per tablespoon. Make your snacks with protein using peanut butter and ENJOY! If you have allergies to peanuts, skip this ingredient in your diet.
Almonds offer a good amount of protein per 1/2 cup – about 16.5g. This also contains a good amount of vitamin E which is good for your skin and eyes.
Algae are of the most common plants in our entire planet. Spirulina is an algae but is full of nutrition! It’s rich in protein, 8g per 2 tablespoons along with other nutrients like iron, manganese, and vitamin B (without B12) You can get spirulina from almost any online store as a powder or supplement. You can add it to your water, smoothies or even fruit juice. If you want, you can sprinkle it all over your salad or snacks, for increasing your protein and nutrition intake.
Quinoa is a grain with high protein content and this one contains a complete protein. You can get about 8g of protein per cup from cooked quinoa. The grain is also highly versatile and is suitable for any item like pasta or stews.
Mycoprotein is a protein that is derived from a fungus. They are very rich in protein, about 13g per 1/2 cup. You can often see products with mycoprotein advertised as a substitute for meats. However, many of them contain egg white, so make sure to check the amount. Mycoprotein causes an allergic reaction to some people, so see that you are not allergic to them.
Chia and hemp seeds are complete protein sources. You can include both of them into your smoothies, yogurts and even puddings! The seeds are low-calorie foods with plenty of fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Per tablespoon, you’ll get about 2g of proteins from chia seeds and 5g from hemp seeds. Try adding them in your smoothies or sprinkle them on the top of your plant-based yogurt.
Beans with rice
Rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. However, together, they can provide up to 7g of protein per cup. You can try rice and beans as a side dish. There are also other recipes like mixing rice, beans, and hummus together and spreading it on Ezekiel bread for a delicious pack of protein.
There are lots of vegetables that contain a high amount of protein. Eaten alone, these are not good for supplementing all the amino acids. Mix them together and it will increase both the protein intake and supply all the essential amino acids. For example, a single medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4g of protein and kale offers about 2g. Mix them together in a salad for a protein-rich meal.
Ezekiel bread is a great alternative to the traditional bread. It is made from lentils, millet, barley and spelt. The bread is an excellent choice for bread lovers who want to get more nutrition from their toast or sandwiches. Ezekiel bread offers a nice amount of protein, about 4g per slice. You can get more protein by applying peanut and/or almond butter.
Tips for getting calcium in your diet
It is important to include some high-calorie, high protein-foods in order to feel satisfied. Research has shown that vegans, as well as nonvegans, should try to meet the same calcium recommendations as the general population. Vegan diets tend to contain much less calcium than other diets, so we should make an effort to include good sources on a daily basis. This should include, turnips, greens, collard greens, fresh and dried figs, fortified orange juice, bok choy, oranges, tofu, mustard, kale fortified soymilk.
High protein vegan foods can help you to begin your journey. If you plan to be vegan or vegetarian, planning is necessary. With the right amount of protein-rich plant food, you can avoid risking your health and animal products at the same time. It is also important that you discuss your dietary portions with your doctor or nutritionist as vegan and vegetarian diets can lack some of the vital nutrients for your health. Simply removing animal products from a typical diet is going to leave you with mostly low-calorie foods such as salads, vegetables, and fruits. While eating only these foods, could leave you hungry and weak and you might be thinking that a vegan diet is a real challenge and this could leave you craving animal products or feeling fatigued. If you choose to be a vegan/vegetarian, see your doctor or nutritionist to get advice for a healthy you. ENJOY!
Delores Powell: My passion is all about Health and Wellness, Success, and to help others succeed as well. Believe in your self and you will succeed.