Along with avoiding the obvious meat, vegans also cut out all animal by-products from the diet. This includes protein-rich eggs, gelatin-containing foods, Greek yogurt, and animal milk. This leads to a vegan lifestyle often being associated with a low protein intake.
As ironic as veganism and intake of proteins may seem, trust us when we say this, there are plenty of options for you.
Why are proteins important?
Protein is an integral part of our system
Proteins form an essential part of our nutrition, making up to about 15% of your total body weight. This vital nutrient forms a major component of your muscles, skin, hair, nails, eyes, and internal organs like the heart and the brain.
Helps maintain immune function
The immune system requires proteins to produce antibodies that can help fight infections in your body.
Involved in many vital functions of the body
Protein also plays a vital role in the regulation of your blood sugar levels, energy function, and fat metabolism. It also plays a crucial role in muscle repair and building.
How much protein do you need to take?
The RDA is about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. However, this can change as per your physical activity levels. We need to also remember that vegan sources of protein are often incomplete since they do not contain all the 9 essential amino acids. Hence you need to eat your plant-based proteins in combination to fulfill your daily protein needs.
8 Best vegan protein sources
- Seaweed Spirulina
57 grams of protein in 100 grams
This salt-water and fresh water blue-green algae is considered to be one of the best sources of vegetarian proteins. Spirulina contains vitamin A, vitamin B12, iron, and proteins. Add a spoonful of spirulina to your smoothies or soups to enrich your vegan diet.
37 grams of protein in 100 grams
Pumpkin seeds – 30 grams of protein in 100 grams
Sunflower seeds – 21 grams of protein in 100 grams
Other seeds: Sesame seeds, Flax seeds, Chia seeds
Add a tablespoon of these seeds to your meals to get the most of their protein goodness. Sprinkle over your soups, salads, or add them to your smoothies. You could also munch on a cup of mixed seeds.
36 grams of protein in 100 grams
This is the holy grail for most vegans when it comes to consuming proteins. Soya chunks are often used as fake meat due to their chewy consistency. Along with proteins, soya is also a good source of iron and calcium.
Mixed pulses – 25-30 grams of protein in 100 grams
Pulses are a low-fat, low-calorie source of plant protein. Include any of the above beans in your mixed sprout salad, or make a red lentil soup, or whip up a bowl of nachos.
26 grams of protein in 100 grams
Store-bought roatsed peanuts are not ideal for consumption by vegans, since the roasting is often done using gelatin (an animal by-product). You can however, always roast the peanuts at home to get the cruncy taste.
Snack on peanuts, munch on a peanut energy bar, or toss them into your salads.
Mixed nuts contain 20 grams of protein in 100 grams
Nuts are big bombs of protein goodness packed in smaller packages. A source of essential amino acids, nuts can add a richness to your vegan diet. Snack on a handful of nuts every morning or evening.
19 grams of protein in 100 grams
With such an impressive amount of protein in them, chickpeas can be used to prepare a variety of foods. Roast them, boil them, make a salad, or whip it up into a creamy hummus. The options with chickpeas are numerous to give yourself a high-protein food.
19 grams of protein in 100 grams
Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian cake-like food made from fermented soybeans. It is very similar to a patty used in burgers. You could use tempeh in a stir-fry or as a meat replacement. Enjoy the nutty, earthy flavor of tempeh which is often similar to mushrooms. Tempeh is richer than tofu in fiber and protein content.
Get proteins the natural way
The next time you are confused about which plant-protein to opt for, think of grabbing some mixed nuts and seeds.
Healthy and Khush is a blog dedicated to sharing science-based tips and hacks that will help you lose weight and keep it off.