Everyone needs protein. If you are an active individual, then you need even more protein! While it’s easy for a carnivore to get enough protein, it can be a difficult challenge for someone that follows a vegan lifestyle. The most common options are soy based products and that, according to some studies, is not the most ideal solution, especially for men due to concerns that consumption of soy may cause an increase in estrogen levels.
Here are our top 9 vegan sources of protein:
Quinoa- Has what is called a complete protein. It has all the nine essential amino acids required by the body and it can be used as a substitute for rice or as a way to bulk up your salads. I like to make a fried rice with quinoa.
A 100 grams (uncooked) contains 380 calories and an amazing 14 grams of protein. Bonus 7 grams of fiber.
Nuts and seeds – Although known for their healthy fat content, nuts and seeds also have a decent amount of protein in them. There’s a great variety to choose from such as, almonds, walnuts, flax, chia, macadamia, etc. You can even use chia seeds to make a chia pudding. Try to choose the unsalted version to avoid over consumption of sodium.
100 grams of almonds contains 580 calories with 21 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
Peanut Butter – Who doesn’t love peanut butter? Spread it on toast or just have a whole spoonful. It is high in healthy fats, therefore higher in calories so if you’re trying to lose weight, control your portions. If you’re allergic to peanuts, try almond butter.
A 100 grams of peanut butter contains 600 calories and a whopping 27 grams of protein.
Beans – Beans are a great food because they are high in protein as well as fiber. A great combination if you are trying to lose weight because both keep you full for a long period of time. There’s a wide variety of beans so pick one you like or mix them up. Add them to salads or a vegan chili.
100 grams of red kidney beans contains just 80 calories with 6.5 grams of protein and the same amount in fiber.
Green Peas – A 100grams of green peas contains just 81 calories and 5.5 grams of proteins and a bonus of 5 grams of fiber. You can snack on them or add them in your main meals.
Lentils – You can have lentil in soup or make a curry out of it. They’re quite bland so make sure to season and spice accordingly.
100 grams contains just 114 calories and 6 grams of protein.
Oatmeal – This breakfast favorite has a high protein as well as a high fiber content and is known to regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Make sure to avoid the instant packet oatmeal’s as they contain a lot of artificial flavorings and a ton of sugar. It is best to get unprocessed oats and add your own flavors such as coco powder, protein powder, seeds, nuts or nut butters.
100 grams of uncooked oatmeal contains 395 calories with 15 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber!
Spinach – Although most vegetables don’t have a significant amount of protein, when mixed with other foods, it can add up to quite a decent amount of protein. Plus, spinach is incredibly good for your body as it provides a ton of vitamins and minerals. If you don’t like spinach, add it to your shakes and smoothies, the taste gets masked by the other ingredients and you still get the full benefits.
A 100 grams of spinach contains ONLY 30 calories, 3 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber.
Tahini – My favorite middle eastern food. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds and tastes incredible on its own. You can use it as a salad dressing or top it on your favorite foods. It is, however, high in calories so make sure to use sparingly.
A 100grams of tahini contains 640 calories and 27 grams of protein!
Remember, if you don’t like any of the above or need more protein with less calories, you can always get a vegan protein supplement. These are usually made from rice, pea and hemp protein to provide you with a complete amino acid profile.