10 High protein vegan foods you should be eating
“Vegan foods? No way! You can’t be serious!” Funny, isn’t it? There are a million-and-one diets out there, but the one that seems to cop the most flack and draw the most uninvited criticism is the vegan diet; usually by people who haven’t the faintest idea what they’re talking about.
You might say it’s a bit of a meat eater thing; the devout human carnivores among us simply can’t comprehend anyone being an equally devout herbivore, unless they’re a cow.
Vegan diet: What is it exactly?
In a nutshell, a vegan eats nothing but plant-based foods. Which means all animal-derived foods – meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood – are out for environmental, ethical or health reasons. Vegans usually shy away from any other products made from animals such as wool, leather, and fur.
Why? Well, some vegans make a stand against animal products for purely pacifist reasons and we have to respect them for that. Others have simply decided that animal products are bad for their health and there is some truth in that too.
10 High protein vegan foods
Irrespective of whether you are a vegan or not, there are some extremely healthy vegan foods that are great sources of protein.
Here is our top ten high protein vegan foods list that should be part of your healthy diet plan.
Soy is like the meat you have when you don’t want meat; in fact, it’s widely considered to be the best alternative to meat. Whether soy milk or tofu or tempeh, here’s a super healthy, high protein vegan food addition you can make to spice up your meat-heavy diet right now. A 100-gram portion of both tofu and tempeh contain 16-19 grams of protein and are excellent sources of iron and calcium as well.
Hemp, flax seeds and chia seeds, in particular, contain larger amounts of protein and ALA than most other seeds. An ounce (28 grams) of hemp seeds contains 9 grams of easily digestible protein which is about 50% more protein than most other seeds. Flax and chia seeds are also a good substitute for eggs in recipes for vegans.
Not exactly a household name, but a super seed nevertheless and a great alternative to rice. If you’ve never tried it, do. Quinoa is the quinella on fibre and vital minerals.
Find out the health benefits of quinoa, the 'supergrain of the future' in our previous blog post!
Four: Nutritional Yeast
Nutritional yeast, found in the form of yellow powder or flakes is a good source of protein. One ounce (28 grams) of nutritional yeast contains about 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. It is also commonly fortified with zinc, magnesium, copper, manganese and B vitamins including vitamin B12.
Nutritional yeast is taking yeast to a level it has never been before; from off-limits to online dietary sensation; from “eww” to “ahh! Read all about the health benefits of nutritional yeast!
Five: Peanut butter
We grew up with it so why not stick to good old peanut butter? Every tablespoon sets you up with 4g of protein. Also, nut butters, particularly homemade nut butters that are devoid of a ton of sugar and hydrogenated oils can be super healthy.
Six: Leafy vegetables
Leafy veggies like spinach are packed with protein, not to mention a bunch of minerals essential to good health. Leafy greens like bok choy, spinach, kale, watercress, mustard greens are rich in iron and calcium too.
Also, broccoli, turnip greens, and blackcurrants are great options.
Try black beans, lentils, lima, kidney and fava beans for a hefty shot of protein. Moreover, sprouting, fermenting and properly cooking beans can increase their nutrient absorption.
Peanuts, walnuts, almonds, cashews; you name it, it’s easy to pop some quality protein with nuts. A 28-gram serving of nuts contains 5-12 grams of protein.
Did you know Almonds are packed with nutrients? Read about all the nutritional benefits of almonds here.
Nine: Sesame seeds
Sprinkle some of these little guys on salads and curries and it’s open sesame for some easy protein.
Seaweed is one of the rare plant foods that contains DHA, an important fatty acid that has several health benefits. Seaweed also contains fairly high amounts of Omega 3. Two tablespoons of seaweed provides about 8 grams of protein. Additionally, it is an excellent source of magnesium, riboflavin, potassium, iodine, riboflavin and contains good amounts of antioxidants.
How do raw vegans get protein?
Raw vegans, as the name suggests, don’t cook anything in oils or butters, they eat only raw, plant-based foods.
Can they get enough protein? Well yes and no. You’d be hard-pressed to get all your daily protein through raw vegetables alone. But mix in some nuts, seeds, fruit and leafy greens and you will be getting close.