So what are the options for protein for vegans? Protein has been a misunderstood component of the human diet for many years — especially since the vegetarian, vegan and raw food movements took hold. Many vegetarians resent the question “But where do you get your protein?” and often remark that it’s the overweight and unhealthy people who ask this question. However, the reality is that humans do need protein, and each human’s body needs a different amount based on their genetics and lifestyle.
Some people do remarkably well with higher amounts of protein in their diets, while others fare much better with little protein. One does not need to consume animal protein, however, to fulfill their needs, and also does not have to subsist on tofu and faux-meat products at every meal, either.
Here are the top five sources of protein for vegans that move swiftly and easily through the body while proving to be satisfying and tasty.
Everyone loves steamed broccoli, so add whatever sauces or dips to these delicious bite-sized morsels to add a little flavor and fun. Nearly a third of the calories you consume from broccoli are protein-based. Broccoli has 5.7 grams of protein in only one cup, so it’s easy to get your fill simply by adding it to vegan broccoli salads, stir-fries, or casseroles. Or eat it raw with some healthy dip, or steam or lightly grill them to retain maximum nutritional benefits.
Broccoli also provides high amounts of plant compounds and flavonoids, like kaempferol. These can provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also high in vitamins K, C and A; folate; manganese and fiber, so load up!
Spinach is high in protein (one gram per cup), making it easy to get a good amount in a salad, tossing a bunch in a smoothie (it doesn’t add a bitter taste) or stir-fried with other vegetables in coconut oil and tamari or shoyu. It reduces to a fraction of the size when cooked, so get lots of it! From a calorie perspective, spinach has more protein than ground beef. 100 calories of ground beef has 10 grams of protein, while 100 calories of baby spinach has 12 grams.
Spinach can provide you with lots of energy throughout the day as spinach has so much protein: three 3 grams of protein per 100-gram serving. It’s also high in vitamins A, K, B2, C, E and B1; magnesium; folate; manganese; iron; tryptophan; calcium; potassium; fiber; copper; phosphorus; zinc and choline, so the more the better.
Almonds rank among the highest-protein nuts. They are not only high in protein (eight grams per 1/4 cup) – they are the only alkaline nut currently known, and they are also high in manganese, vitamin E, magnesium, tryptophan, copper and phosphorus. However, since almonds are high in fat, they contain a lot of calories: An ounce of almonds (about 23 nuts) has around 160 calories, 14 grams of fat and 6 grams of protein.
Excellent in both sweet and salty dishes, almonds are versatile and can be eaten in many ways – raw, toasted, seasoned, sliced, ground or as almond butter. They are a versatile source of protein for vegans. Sprinkle them on your vegetables for a crunch, add them to cereal, spread almond butter on sprouted grain bread with jam or preserves or make a dip with it for guests.
2.) Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent addition to the diet and high in protein as well as manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Pumpkin seeds have a good amount of protein in a small serving, containing five grams in just one ounce. They make a great addition to any meal if you want to up the protein content.
Studies have also found that pumpkin seeds can be helpful in preventing diabetic complications and help to regulate blood pressure. Also, pumpkin seed oil could help to improve cholesterol levels in postmenopausal women. So it’s not just a great source of protein for vegans.
When removed from the flesh of a pumpkin, they can be rinsed and roasted, either plain or with other flavors, such as oils and spices, to create a delicious, crunchy snack. Soaking shelled pumpkin seeds in water for one to two hours and then blending them with ginger, garlic, tamari and any herbs and spices that you like can create a delicious, nutritious plate to go with sliced bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and/or baby carrots.
Quinoa happens to not only be high in protein, but has a complete protein profile, meaning it contains all amino acids necessary for the body. Just one cup of cooked quinoa contains nine grams of protein; it’s kind of like God’s gift to vegans. Quinoa is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. It also contributes useful levels of several B vitamins, vitamin E and dietary fiber.
Quinoa is an alkaline grain that tastes delicious, cooks quickly and pairs well with almost anything – on salads, with meats or even as a breakfast dish with almond milk and honey. It’s definitely a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains.
Quinoa is a fairly new seed grain in the American food system, being from the highlands of Peru originally, and gaining popularity due to its vast nutritional profile and ability to be eaten in such a variety of ways.
So there you have it – 5 high-protein non-animal foods that won’t constipate, clog you up, or damage your kidneys. Other higher protein foods are leafy greens and legumes, so stock up on these for healthy, muscle-building protein. Just because vegans don’t eat meat does not mean they have protein deficiencies. In fact, far from it!
For some great salad ideas that will go well with these examples of protein for vegans, have a look at these 5 best vegetarian salad recipes. You can also find easy, healthy recipes on these five healthy food blogs. And why should vegans miss out on delicious desserts? Try one of these five vegan recipes that no one will realize are actually vegan.