A person may try a vegan diet for health, animal welfare, or religious reasons. In 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated that a vegetarian or vegan diet could provide all the nutritional requirements of adults, children, and those who were pregnant or breast-feeding.
Even so, getting enough protein and essential vitamins and minerals can be harder for people who do not eat meat or animal products. A person must plan ahead to ensure they get enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B-12, which people on an omnivorous diet get from animal products.
Read on for a list of some of the best plant-based foods for protein. We also discuss the differences between animal and plant proteins, and whether plant-based protein powders can be good sources of protein.
The correct plant-based foods can frequently have less calories than animal products while still being excellent sources of protein and other nutrients. Some plant-based foods, such quinoa and soy beans, are complete proteins because they contain all nine of the essential amino acids that humans require. It is crucial to consume a diversified diet since some people lack some of these amino acids.
Healthy plant-based foods with a high protein content per serving include the following:
A half cup of cooked chickpeas has about 7.25 g of protein.
Chickpeas are quite adaptable and can be either hot or cold. A wealth of recipes are accessible online. They can be baked in the oven after being seasoned with paprika or added to stews and curries.
Hummus, a protein-rich substitute to butter that is produced from chickpea paste, can be used to sandwiches.
Lentils, whether red or green, are a good source of protein, fibre, and important vitamins and minerals including potassium and iron.
Cooked lentils contain 8.84 g of protein per ½ cup.
Add lentils to your lunch or supper menu for a terrific dose of protein. To add an additional serving of protein, they can be added to stews, curries, salads, or rice.
3. Tofu, Tempeh, and Edamame
One of the best sources of protein for a plant-based diet is soy products. Depending on how the soy is processed, the protein amount varies:
- firm tofu (soybean curds) contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup.
- edamame beans (immature soybeans) contain 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup.
- tempeh contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup.
Tofu is a flexible complement to a meal since it takes on the flavour of the dish it is made in.
Tofu can be used in popular soups and sandwiches in place of meat. In some cuisines, such as kung pao chicken and sweet and sour chicken, tofu is also a common meat alternative.
These soy products are healthy alternatives to dairy products because they also have adequate calcium and iron levels.
A complete protein, quinoa is a grain with a high protein content. 8 g of protein are found in one cup of cooked quinoa.
Other minerals like magnesium, iron, fibre, and manganese are also abundant in this grain. It is also quite adaptable.
In soups and stews, quinoa can take the place of pasta. It can be consumed as the main course or as a garnish on a salad.
Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. They also provide a good amount of vitamin E, which is great for the skin and eyes.
Peanuts are protein-rich, full of healthful fats, and may improve heart health. They contain around 20.5 g of protein per ½ cup.
Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 3.6 g per tablespoon, making peanut butter sandwiches a healthful complete protein snack.
7. Chia Seeds
Seeds are low-calorie foods that are rich in fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a complete source of protein that contain 2 g of protein per tablespoon.
Consider incorporating chia seeds into smoothies, topping plant-based yoghurt with them, or preparing a pudding by soaking them in water or almond milk.
Chia seeds can be purchased online, in select supermarkets, and health food stores.
Mycoprotein is a fungus-based protein. Mycoprotein products contain around 13 g of protein per ½ cup serving.
Mycoprotein products are frequently marketed as meat alternatives and come in shapes like “chicken” nuggets or cutlets. However, a lot of these items contain egg white, so it’s important to read the label.
Fusarium venenatum, the fungus from which the mycoprotein product known as Quorn is manufactured, causes allergies in a very tiny percentage of persons. Consider another protein source if you have a history of food allergies or sensitivities to mushrooms.
9. Protein-Rich Vegetables
Protein is present in a variety of vegetables and leafy greens in dark colours. These foods do not provide enough protein when consumed alone to meet daily needs, but a few veggie snacks can boost protein consumption, especially when coupled with other protein-rich foods.
- 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.
For a meal high in protein, try a salad comprised of baby greens with some quinoa on top.
A large baked potato offers 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are also high in other nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C.
Add 2 tablespoons of hummus for a flavorful snack that is healthier than butter-covered potatoes and increases the protein content. Two tablespoons of hummus contain about 3 g of protein.
11. Beans With Rice
Separately, rice and beans are incomplete protein sources. Eaten together, this classic meal can provide 7 g of protein per cup.
For a flavorful, protein-rich dinner, combine rice, beans, and hummus and spread it on Ezekiel bread made from sprouted grains. You can also serve rice and beans as a side dish.
A complete protein known as seitan is created by combining wheat gluten with various seasonings. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should avoid it because to the high wheat content. Others may use it as a healthy, protein-rich meat replacement.
When cooked in soy sauce, which is rich in the amino acid lysine, seitan becomes a complete protein source offering 21 g per 1/3 cup.