High protein vegan foods are readily available in your local store or online. A few years ago the choice was dire but thankfully times have changed and attitudes too. Supermarkets offline and online are stepping up to the mark providing healthy vegan alternatives to satisfy the growth in vegan interest.
A study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that properly planned vegan diets could provide the correct nutritional requirements of the general population including children and breast feeding mothers.
Why You Need Protein
Protein is one of the most vital components in the body. It is needed in every cell to build and repair damage. Your hormones, enzymes and body chemicals all need protein. Protein is the main building block of your whole body including muscles, bone, blood and organs. You cannot live healthily lacking in this very basic body requirement. If you are following a vegan diet you must educate yourself to the nutrients that you could lack.
It is vital to plan and ensure all meals do provide the adequate nutrients, the issues start when this advice is ignored. Protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D are just some of the required nutrients that must be provided in your vegan diet. You need to become familiar with the appropriate food sources to supply all your dietary needs to keep your body and mind healthy.
Protein Foods For Vegans
Take a note of the following Top 20 high protein foods and keep a good selection in your store cupboard. You need to have your vegan alternatives readily available so that you can be assured every meal is nutritional balanced.
Some of the following foods you will love – some not so much but you will get to know your favourites! You can get creative in your vegan cooking or you can keep it simple – just make sure you are including high protein foods.
Top 20 High Protein Foods
- Nutritional Yeast
- Seeds including hemp, sunflower,sesame,pumpkin
- Green Peas
- Ezekiel Bread/other breads with sprouted grains
- Soy Milk
- Bulgur Wheat
- Rice/wild rice
- Chia Seeds
- Nuts/Nut Butter
Vegan foods high in protein do not all contain the same nutritional value so it is imperative to eat a varied diet. Quinoa, chia seeds, hempseed, buckwheat and soy beans are a complete protein meaning they contain all nine amino acids that the human body requires.
How to Get Protein as a Vegan
You will get enough protein as a vegan if you incorporate the list above into your diet. Always have the staples and your favourites readily available in your food cupboard. The above list are all dry foods and can be ordered online in bulk – this usually works out cheaper. You can buy all of it in your local supermarkets too and this is a good option if you are trying out what you like and what you don’t. You don’t want 7kg of bulgur wheat in your pantry to realize you don’t like it! When you discover your favourites then you can buy the dry foods in larger quantities for a better price.
Vegan Pantry Staples
Soy products that include tofu, tempeh and edamame beans are a very rich source of protein. Soy also has good levels of calcium and iron making them a viable healthy option as a diary substitute. When buying soy products always look for fair trade to ensure sustainability.
Chickpeas are a versatile food that can be added to stews, curries or eaten cold in salads. Try hummus on your toast for a protein boost in the morning.
Lentils are a great versatile food also that can also be added to stews, curries and salads. Both red and green have lots of protein, fibre and other important key nutrients such as iron and potassium.
Spirulina is a distinctive green algae that is ideal in smoothies for a morning protein fix or it can be sprinkled over salads. The best way to take spirulina is in a smoothie or in juice as it does have quite a strong taste.
Nuts including peanuts and almonds are a great source for protein. They are high in healthy fats and can be added to any meal raw or roasted. Almond nuts are a great source of vitamin E which is essential for healthy skin and eyes. There are lots of nut butters on the market that will boost your protein intake during the day. Add the nut butters to shakes or use on sandwiches or toast as a snack.
Quinoa is a complete protein containing all the amino acids, cooked it contains 8g of protein per cup. Quinoa can be a main ingredient in your dish or a side. Add nuts, seeds and chopped up peppers, a dash of lemon will add a little zing and some vitamin C.
Seeds are a great source of protein and can be added to almost every dish from dinners to desserts and smoothies. Chia seeds pack a mighty punch for such a tiny seed – a complete source of protein coming in at 2g per tablespoon, they are packed with fibre and rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Hemp Seeds are another force to be reckoned with approx 5g of protein per tablespoon, they too are a complete source of protein. It is a good idea to take a container and add some mixed seeds and nuts for a quick go to for sprinkling, store the rest until you need them.
Seitan is a complete protein and for those that miss or enjoy the meaty texture, this can be a good alternative. It is made with wheat gluten so needs to be avoided if gluten intolerance is an issue.