A few years ago 3 of my close friends simultaneously became vegans. While I’ve cut out many animal foods from my diet, including pork products, I’m far from vegan. But I truly admire what they’re doing and contemplate daily the problems that meat consumption causes to our environment and health, as well as the welfare of animals.
But more on that in another post…
I’m glad to say each is still following this plant-based, no-animal products life-style. In the midst of learning about their diets, I’ve had many discussions with other, non-vegans who are curious as to the breadth or limitations of their choices. As you can imagine, the most common query is where their protein sources come from.
So here’s the main list of foods that provide a vegan with some of the highest levels of protein and easy to incorporate into everyday meals.
Quinoa, which is a seed, stands alone as one of the only plant foods to contain all nine amino acids needed to form protein and it’s a better choice than typical grains, oats or pasta since it’s full of fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese.
Tempeh is fermented soybeans, more chewy than tofu and very versatile. It’s also a great substitute if you can’t digest beans. Just 100g of tempeh contain 38% of your daily protein requirement.
Chia, hemp, pumpkin or sunflower, tiny seeds pack a protein punch. It’s easy to carry with you or sprinkle them on salads or in shakes.
Most beans have substantial protein with white beans having the most at 17.42 grams in 1 cup. Edamame is a high-quality protein with 22.23 grams of protein in a 1-cup serving, which is about equal to the protein you’ll get from a 3-ounce serving of meat.
Lentils are part of the legume family and are good sources of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. Lentils add 9 grams of protein to a meal for each half-cup, along with nearly 15 grams of fiber! This group also includes chickpeas, tempeh, and texturized vegetable protein.
Artichoke hearts are a great way to boost protein with
5 grams per cup. They’re low in calories but filling because of its fiber content and provide potent antioxidant benefits and folic acid.
It only takes 2 tablespoons of peanut butter offer 8 grams of pure protein. Just be careful with portions as it’s loaded with fat.