How To Get Protein As A Vegan

Vegetarianism and veganism are increasingly popular dietary choices. But while some people choose to avoid animal products for health reasons, others opt for a meat-free lifestyle because it aligns with their values. 

How To Get Protein As A Vegan

Still, there are plenty of questions surrounding what exactly constitutes a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet. What does one eat? How much do we really need to consume? And how can we make sure our diet contains enough protein? 

The human body needs proteins to function properly. It is used for building muscles, repairing tissues, producing hormones, and regulating blood sugar levels.

Protein is found in meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, soybeans, lentils, peas, grains, and vegetables. 

Let’s take a look at the best sources of protein for vegans and vegetarians.

Seitan 

Seitan is a popular protein substitute for vegetarians and vegans because it looks like real meat, tastes like real meat, and cooks up just like real meat. In fact, it’s often used as a replacement for beef in dishes such as tacos, burgers, and chili.

The word “seitan” literally translates into “wheat meat.” This meat substitute is made from gluten, the main protein found in wheat flour and water. 

This gluten-rich product can be found in most supermarkets’ refrigerated sections. If you’re looking for a vegan meal option, there are plenty of recipes online.

Edamame, Tofu And Tempeh

Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are three types of beans that originated from soybeans. These foods are especially popular in East Asia because they are easy to prepare and contain high amounts of protein.

Soybeans are considered a complete food source since they provide your body with all the essential amino acids needed for growth and development.

Edamame are immature soybean pods with a sweet and slightly nutty flavor. They must be cooked prior to eating. You can enjoy them alone or add them to soups, salads or stir fries.

Tempeh is fermented soybeans that are often used in vegetarian dishes. It provides a hearty texture and is rich in nutrients.

Nutritional Yeast 

Nutritional yeast is a deactivated strain of Saccharomyce cerevisiae yeast, often referred to simply as “yeast.” This product contains no gluten, making it safe for people with celiac disease or wheat allergies. 

Nutritional yeast is used as a seasoning and flavoring agent in many foods, such as soups, sauces, dips, casseroles, salads, breads, and baked goods. Some products use it as a replacement for cheese, while others add it to meatloaf or fish sticks.

Because of its high protein content, nutritional yeast can replace some of the protein in recipes that call for dry milk solids.

Teff And Spelt 

Both spelt and teff are excellent sources of protein. A half cup serving provides about 11 grams of protein. This makes them higher in protein than most other ancient grains. 

They both contain lots of fiber too. A half cup of spelt provides 9 grams of fiber. A half cup of teff provides 8 grams. These amounts of fiber make them better choices than many other types of whole grains.

Hemp Seeds 

Hemp seeds contain 9 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons (30 grams). This makes them a great addition to salads, smoothies, cereals, granola bars, oatmeal, dips, sauces, soups, stews, and baked goods.

In fact, hemp seeds are such a powerhouse nutrient source that you could eat just 2 tablespoons daily and still receive over half of your recommended daily intake of some important vitamins and minerals.

Chia Seeds 

How To Get Protein As A Vegan

Chia seeds are packed full of protein and fiber, making them a great addition to your diet as a vegan or vegetarian. They’re also easy to add into any recipe that calls for a flaxseed meal.

You can use chia seeds in smoothies, baked goods, salads, soups, and more!

Green Peas 

Green peas are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. They’re loaded with nutrients like potassium, calcium, fiber, and protein.

In fact, a single cup of raw green peas contains nearly 9 grams of protein, which is slightly more than one cup of dairy milk. 

One serving of green beans provides over 25% of your daily recommended intake of fiber, thiamin, folate, manganese, and vitamin A and C. Plus, they’re packed with iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, among many other important minerals.

Soy Milk 

Soy milk is made from soybeans and usually fortified with vitamins & minerals. It can be used as an alternative to dairy milk for people who do not consume dairy products.

It contains 6g of protein per cup (240ml) and is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D.

Nuts And Seeds  

Nuts and seeds are great sources of protein. One ounce (28 grams), containing 5–7 grams of it, depends on the variety. Nuts and seeds are rich in fiber and healthy fats, including iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

They also contain antioxidants, such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and vitamin E.

Wild Rice

Compared to other types of long-grain rice, wild rice contains roughly twice as much protein.

A cooked serving (about 164 grams) contains nearly seven grams of protein, plus healthy amounts of fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12.

Wild rice contains less starch than white rice, so they don’t get sticky when cooked. They also contain more nutrients than white rice.

Mycoprotein  

Mycoprotein is a non-animal based protein derived from Fusarium venenatum, which is a type of fungi. It’s often used to make meat substitutes like veggie burgers, pate, cutlets, and fishless filets.

The nutritional values can vary depending on the specific product but most contain 15 – 16g of protein per 3.4 ounce (100 gram) serving, along with five to eight grams of fiber.

Although there are concerns about the potential health risks associated with mycoprotein due to possible cross contamination with allergens, studies show that adverse reactions are extremely rare.

However, keep in mind that many products containing mycoprotein may also include egg whites, so be careful to read labels if you follow a vegan diet or avoid eggs because of food allergies.

Conclusion 

Getting protein as a vegan isn’t difficult at all. There are plenty of plant-based options available to help you get enough protein every day.

Jenna Priestly
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