Best Vegan Protein Sources
The vegan lifestyle continues to grow in popularity. Whether for health, moral, or cultural reasons, many people have removed animal byproducts from their diet. This includes all meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, and anything that contains these ingredients.
It’s a big decision, but what’s even bigger is the challenge that such a diet poses to proper nutrition.
Protein is particularly difficult to find on a vegan menu. Although many plant-based proteins are out there, including soy protein, these protein sources don’t contain the same complexity of amino acids found in animal-based proteins. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but it does mean that supplementing with protein is that much more important.
With the right vegan protein supplements, you’re more likely to get adequate support.
And remember, getting sufficient protein in your diet should not be taken lightly. Protein is necessary for a number of bodily functions, and plays a major role in building and repairing your muscle tissue. If you’re working out and doing a lot of weight training, the importance of protein is increased significantly.
Let’s look at my top picks for best vegan protein sources…
Best Vegan Protein Sources
1. Vegetables – Believe it or not, many vegetables are actually high in protein. 1 cup of broccoli or spinach, for example, contains 5 grams of protein. 1 cup of cooked sweet potato or kale also contains 5 grams, while 1 cup of cooked peas contains a whopping 9 grams of protein!
2. Legumes – Lentils and beans are even higher in protein content. There are 28 grams of protein in a cup of soybeans alone (with 1 cup of tofu containing 22 grams). A cup of lentils contains 18 grams of protein, a cup of refried beans contains 15.5, and a cup of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) contains 14.5.
3. Nuts and Seeds – If you’re vegan, you really should be including a lot of nuts and seeds in your diet. Although they appear high in fat, this fat is good fat that will actually boost your metabolism. Some great options include sesame seeds (6.5 grams of protein in 1 oz.) and almonds (4 grams of protein in 1 oz.).
4. Non-Dairy Milks – Soy milk, almond milk, and ancient grain or rice milk all contain between 7 and 9 grams of protein in 1 cup. These make great protein-rich substitutes for dairy.
5. Grains – Many people are surprised by the protein content of many grains. A slice of whole grain bread contains about 5 grams of protein, while oatmeal contains 6 grams per cup. Quinoa is one of your best choices, with 9 grams of protein in a single cup (hence its superfood designation).
6. Superfood Supplements – Many vegan superfoods are rich in protein and can easily be added to salads, smoothies, shakes, and meals. My top picks include NOW Spirulina Powder, NOW Chlorella, and these Nutiva Organic Chia Seeds.
7. Vegan Protein Products – There are also some great vegan protein powders on the market. Here are the two I recommend:
- Vega Sport Performance Protein – Vega is a leader in the vegan protein industry and offers a product specifically designed with athletes in mind.
- Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein – Hemp is one of the best vegan protein sources you can find, and this hemp protein powder is no exception.
If you’re a vegan and at all concerned about your health and fitness, I highly recommend adding some of these vegan protein supplements to your diet. They’ll give you (and your muscles) the support they need!
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