If you are considering going vegan, chances are you would ask this question: Which vegan foods are high in protein?
On average, people need to consume about 50 grams of protein a day. Below are the vegan foods high in protein list for you to consider to meet this requirement.
Vegetables are an inevitable part of a vegan diet. They alone cannot provide you with complete protein, meaning they lack certain essential amino acids. But you don’t need to have all 9 amino acids in every meal.
Here are some vegetables with relatively higher protein content: broccoli, kale, asparagus, artichoke, spinach, brussels sprouts, and potato. Each contains from 4 to 6 grams of protein per cup.
Vegetables can be the main ingredient in a wide range of recipes, ranging from soup, salad, stew, pasta, dip to smoothies.
We cannot stress enough the health benefits of vegetables. They are packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating vegetables every day is the simplest way to improve your well-being.
Grains are mostly known for being the staple source of carbohydrates. But grains also have protein. Some with high content are oats, buckwheat, sorghum, wild rice, quinoa, spelt, Kamut (Khorasan wheat), and Amaranth.
A serving of 45 grams of uncooked grains delivers from 5 to 7 grams of protein. Out of the list above, quinoa comes out on top of plant-based sources of complete protein.
Whole grains are also rich in fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Eating whole grains benefits your heart health and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
Yes, we are talking about whole grains here. Grain enrichment and fortification have become such a big business. There are so many types of refined grains out on the market nowadays. However, eating these refined versions would only bring about more health problems than benefits.
Regardless of the types, you are eating, grains are heavy on digestion. Overconsumption would lead to digestive problems.
In addition, overconsumption of grains in your diet often leads to fewer fruit and vegetable intakes. This tendency, in turn, reduces the variety of nutrients that are available to your body.
It is easy to overeat grains because they are integrated into so many food products these days. As with any other types of foods, remember, moderation is key.
Legumes generally contain a high level of protein, and lentil, in particular, is an incredible source of this macronutrient. It has 9 grams of protein per half-cup, along with lots of fiber. Therefore, whenever you need a protein boost, eat legumes.
Other protein-rich legumes are chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans. They are also high in fiber, folate, manganese, and iron, beneficially controlling blood sugar and reducing bad cholesterol.
These legumes also have a high satiety index, which means that despite being low-calorie foods, they are fulfilling. Therefore, not only are they helpful for vegan diets but also good for weight loss.
If you seek some recipes for legumes, they are excellent in adding a nutty flavor to your soup, chili, burrito, hummus, or salad.
#4. Nuts and Seeds
While legumes contain more carb, nuts and seeds have more vegetable oil, thus more calories. However, they share the same amount of protein per serving.
Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and cashews are king nuts of protein, ranging from 5 to 8 grams per ¼ cup.
You can add a moderate portion of nuts to your daily diet through drinking nut milk, eating them with yogurt, and blending them into smoothies. We don’t recommend eating too many nuts, though. Since they contain a high level of fat, overconsumption can lead to digestion problems like diarrhea.
Going over to seeds, those with high protein levels are hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
You can combine them with vegetables for a delicious and nutrition-packed salad bowl. Making smoothies, baked goods, or condiments from seeds are also great ideas.
Together with proteins, nuts and seeds also contain fiber, healthy fats, and minerals. They are beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
In addition, research has shown that people who eat a moderate amount of these energy-packed foods every day have a lower BMI.
#5. Soy Products
Soy products have long been the darling of the vegan world for their availability and affordability. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are versatile ingredients since they are mild in taste and can cooperate in a variety of recipes.
Soy-based products don’t have a distinct flavor; thus you can use them as a substitute for the meat ingredient in most recipes. They would take on the flavor of whatever ingredients or spices when mixed.
Soy milk is also a superb supplier of protein. One cup of cow milk contains 8 grams of protein, and one cup of soy milk produces no less than that, a hefty 7 grams.
Soy protein is higher in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol compared to animal protein. Even for your non-vegan friends or family members, consuming soy protein would help lower blood pressure and reduce cardiovascular diseases.
They are also rich in vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D, which are much-needed nutrients for vegetarians and vegans.
Somehow there are still discussions over whether mushrooms are vegan or not. Vegan means not to use animal products. Coming from the fungi kingdom, mushrooms are undoubtedly vegan.
Mushrooms have a unique earthy, umami flavor and a meaty texture. For that reason, they have been used to replace meat in many recipes.
However, mushrooms are not one of the highest sources of protein you can find out there. Eating 100 grams of mushrooms can only meet 5 to 7 percent of the daily value for protein.
Nevertheless, mushrooms are still valued for containing many nutrients, like antioxidants and minerals. They are useful in preventing a variety of diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes.
Some mushrooms have dried versions. They can be stored for a longer time, so they might relieve you from the stress of keeping so many things fresh in your early days as a vegan.
Fruits do not contain a lot of protein. But since you are on a vegan diet, it is beneficial to know which fruits have relatively higher protein contents.
Tops of the list are jackfruit, guava, berries, avocado, kiwi, apricot, banana, and raisins. They provide somewhere between 1 to 4 grams of protein per cup.
Jackfruit, in particular, has a texture that resembles pulled pork. It has been integrated into many savory dishes, namely sandwiches, hamburgers, tacos, stuffed sweet potato, pizza, and slaw.
Jackfruit has various antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins C. Consuming this kind of fruit helps you lower the risk of constipation, ulcers, diabetes, high blood pressure, skin problems, and cancer.
For your information, jackfruit is also considered a solution to worldwide starvation.
Do You Need Protein Supplements On A Vegan Diet?
The answer is you don’t. Nutritionists have pointed out that vegan foods are high in protein, enough for your body’s needs. Furthermore, we might not even need that much protein commonly recommended.
This article provides you with a list of what foods are high in protein for vegans to build a diverse diet.
Rather than focusing on protein alone, it is important to remember that protein is one out of many essential nutrients to our body.
Eating a variety of foods will assure that you don’t miss out on any important nutrients.
Of course, you can use supplements if you find them helpful. However, they should not be anything other than “supplements.”
Don’t depend on them as the main source of protein. If you are a vegan because you are concerned about animal protein and want to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet, then overreliance on supplements defeats the purpose.
What Are The Signs That You Are Not Getting Enough Protein?
The recommended daily value of protein is less than 1 gram for each kilogram of body weight.
There is no exact number, though: women may need less protein than men, and athletes require more protein than non-athletes.
If you worry that you might not get enough protein, here are some of the signs to detect protein deficiency:
- Mood changes
- Problems with hair, nails, skin
- Slow-healing injury
It is undeniable that you need protein to build and repair cells in your body. The list above addresses your concern as to which vegan foods are high in protein.
Hope you can find the perfect combo for your meals and stay healthy!