‘How do you get your protein’ is often a question that many vegans get asked, especially when discussing fitness and ways to build muscle. However, while protein is mostly associated with animal products, like white meats and eggs, good amounts of the macronutrient can also be found in many types of vegan foods.
From manmade products like hemp powder and protein bars to natural foods like whole grains and nuts, this article looks at eight sources of high-protein vegan foods to add to your diet.
Vegan protein bars
There are many natural and manufactured options when it comes to sourcing vegan protein, and a protein bar is one of the better manmade foods. Not only can 100 grams of a bar, such as a Nutree Life bar, contain as much as 33 grams of a quality protein, like pea protein, but also the design of the small bars means you can get it into your system quickly. This is ideal for giving yourself a quick protein boost before or after your gym workout.
Pulses provide a natural low-fat source of protein and include beans, lentils and chickpeas, offering a wide range of foods to choose from. Beans, alone, covers kidney, black and pinto beans, each with high amounts of protein. Lentils can add about 9 grams to your diet, but chickpeas are an excellent choice for pulses, with 100 grams containing an impressive 19 grams of protein.
Made from hemp seeds, which are known as one of nature’s best sources for plant-based protein, hemp protein power is another great way for vegans to get the muscle-building macronutrient into their system. Seeds are usually cold-pressed, milled and sieved to provide an organic powder, 30 grams of which can provide about 11 grams of protein. Hemp milk can also provide a non-dairy way to add protein to your diet.
These provide another good source of natural protein and are easy to include as a snack during the day. Good examples are almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts and pistachios. One ounce of almonds, for instance, contains about 5.9g of protein, while walnuts have about 4.3g. Nuts are also filled with other nutrients, like magnesium and healthy fats, which help contribute to building muscle.
When considering foods with quality protein, vegetables often get neglected as they’re mainly associated with containing vitamins and minerals. But many green vegetables actually contain a good serving of protein too. 100 grams of green peas, for instance, contain about 5 grams of protein. Other good examples include spinach, broccoli, asparagus, green beans and Brussels sprouts.
Oats and oatmeal
This is another great source of protein for vegans. Oats are grains from a cereal plant, which have either been milled, steel-cut or rolled. 120ml of dry oats provides around 6 grams of protein, as well as other muscle-building nutrients, like magnesium and zinc. When milk or water is added to a bowl of oats and heated you get oatmeal, which is better known as porridge. Non-dairy milk, like soy, can be added as an alternative, increasing your intake of protein even further.
While these are mainly associated with being full of fibre, uncooked whole grains also provide another healthy way to get your protein. Examples include spelt, amaranth and wild rice, with 45 grams of each grain containing an ample amount of protein. Amaranth has 6.10 grams, spelt has around 6.56, and wild rice holds 6.63 grams, so are all good grains to add to a high-protein diet.
Finally, these provide another good source of natural protein, which, like nuts, can be nibbled on as snacks or during meal times. Seeds, such as chia, sunflower and sesame seeds, all contain good sources of protein. Chia, is known as one of the best examples, with just one tablespoon yielding about 3 grams of protein. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds each contain about 2 grams per table spoon.
By adding healthy foods like these to your daily meal plan, you can create a high-protein diet that meets your key fitness aims. Whether you want to build or maintain muscle growth, or just improve the quality of your workout, vegan foods like these can help you achieve your goals.