People following a vegan diet average about 70 grams of protein per day. This is about 30% less than the average American.
If you are an active individual this is not enough protein to maintain recovery and muscle mass. The good news is there are vegan protein sources you can use!
Regardless of your activity level, this article will show you some foods you can use to increase your daily protein intake.
The Vegan Diet
The scientific community debates on numerous topics. However, one thing that all scientists agree on is the superiority of plant-based whole-food diets to the Western Diet.
Many people consider eating whole-foods and plant-based foods a type of diet; however, nutritionists tend to think of it as a lifestyle rather than a simple eating habit.
This new lifestyle is free of processed foods, artificial sweeteners, refined sugar, and hydrogenated fats.
One thing a plant-based diet can be lacking in is protein. This list of vegan protein sources can help!
Best Vegan Protein Sources
Let’s start with the complete proteins first!
Soy products (e.g., tofu, tempeh, and edamame)
These products are among the most protein rich plant-based foods. As such, they are one of the top vegan protein sources.
However, the protein content will vary, depending on the way you prepare the dish.
Here are some numbers breaking that down for you:
- ½ cup of tofu contains around 10 grams of protein;
- 1 cup of tempeh (166 g) contains around 31 grams of protein (this number is slightly reduced when tempeh is cooked);
- 1 cup of cooked edamame contains 17 grams of protein.
Quinoa is a type of grain used in many traditional dishes and salads. These grains are incredibly rich in nutrients, such as fiber, protein, iron, and magnesium.
One cup of quinoa is a decent vegan protein source as it may contain up to 8 grams of protein.
Lentils are very rich in fiber, iron, and potassium. However, they are also protein-compacted, with ½ cup containing up to 8.84 grams.
Moreover, consuming this vegan protein source regularly reduces your risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia.
Typically, potatoes are not associated with high protein levels.
However, one large potato may store 8 grams of protein. They are also a rich vitamin C and potassium source and can be mixed up with hummus to acquire more protein.
While leafy green vegetables alone will not meet your daily protein requirements, they are still great snacks to boost your protein intake.
Here are some vegetables that are rich in protein:
- A single, medium stalk of broccoli contains about 4 g of protein;
- Kale offers 2 g of protein per cup;
- 5 medium mushrooms offer 3 g of protein.
Vegan protein powder
Although it should not be your primary source of protein, a good protein powder can help you meet your needs.
Vegan protein powder can be made from legumes, seeds, or grains. Generally, good ones contain a combination of vegan protein sources that provide you with one complete protein when mixed.
The issue many people have is the flavor and texture of vegan protein powders. For that reason I have provided a list of the top rated vegan protein powders.
There were other decent ones, however, these are all complete protein profiles. Most of them can be found on Amazon, but feel free to shop around too!
Here are the best options:
About Time Vegan Protein
This powder contains 22 grams of protein coming from pea, brown rice, and pumpkin seeds. You can check it out here.
Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein
This powder contains 30 grams of protein coming from 14 different sources. Flavor of this one is lacking but it boasts more protein than the others. This is a great option to mix into a shake. You can check it out here.
PlantFusion Complete Protein
This powder contains 21 grams of protein coming from pea, quinoa, amaranth, artichoke, algae, and branch-chain amino acids. You can check it out here.
Orgain Organic Protein
Orgain is one of the least expensive options on the list per serving. This powder contains 30 grams of protein coming from pea, brown rice, and chia seeds. You can check it out here.
Vega Sport Protein Powder
Vega Sport is one of the few that offers a larger size container for more servings. This powder contains 30 grams of protein coming from pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and alfalfa. You can check it out here.
Beam Vegan Protein
This powder contains 20 grams of protein coming from pea, pumpkin seed, and mung bean protein with apple fiber, blueberry fiber, and red algae. Based on reviews people either love or hate the flavor of this one. It does have some unique options which is why it’s included here. You can check it out here.
Incomplete Vegan Protein Sources
Incorporating the vegan protein sources listed in this article will help you get in more of the protein you need to maintain a balanced plant-based diet.
That said, many vegan protein sources are incomplete proteins. This means they do not contain the full amino acid profile your body needs.
Take some time to balance your protein sources so you can get in full amino acid profiles. It will help prevent dietary deficiencies and you’ll feel better because of it!
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