Vegan protein sources include foods like beans, lentils and tofu. After doing a lot of reading, I now know that 35g of protein per day is all I need to stay healthy. Non-vegans may not believe it, but plants can easily provide this quantity of protein.
‘Where do you get your protein?’ That is a question pretty much every vegan has to answer on a regular basis. There is a common misconception that if you eat a vegan diet, you are (or will eventually) be very protein deficient. Nothing could be farther from the truth, since a lot of plant foods contain protein. They may not be as high as what is found in animal-derived foods, but they are more than enough. According to government guidelines, vegans and non-vegans only need 10% of their daily energy needs from protein, which is much less than the 30% people get from the standard non-vegan diet. Eating over 30% of protein can be detrimental to health because it places far too much stress on the kidneys.
Vegans need to ensure that they include lots of complete proteins in their diet. Complete proteins are those that provide all the nine essential amino acids we need to stay healthy. Only certain plant foods contain this type of protein, and they all make it into my top 5.
My top 5 vegan protein sources
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a highly-nutritious, gluten-free, pseudograin. It is a great source of complete proteins, fibre and many other essential minerals like iron, zinc, B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Although quinoa is not my favourite grain, it is my favourite protein-rich grain. I particularly enjoy it in salads and with curries.
- Soya beans: I enjoy adding soya beans to salads and stir fries because they taste great and they add a lovely texture. Soya beans are another great source of complete proteins and omega-3 fats. One cup of soya beans provides 30 g of protein and 10 g of fibre. It also provides 25% of daily potassium needs, 37% vitamin K, 37% magnesium, 38% vitamin B2, 43% omega-3 fats, 49% iron and 60% phosphorus.
- Chickpeas: These are probably my favourite source of vegan protein. I can eat them everyday with no problem at all. LOL! One cup of chickpeas provides around 15 g of protein and 13 g of dietary fibre. They also provide 50% of daily potassium needs, 2% vitamin A, 21% calcium, 13% vitamin C, 69% iron, 55% vitamin B-6 and 57% magnesium. Chickpeas also contain vitamin K, folate, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, choline and selenium.
- Lentils: I almost always make a dahl or a curry whenever I cook lentils. They are my absolute favourite ways of enjoying these nutritious legumes. Lentils are not a complete protein, but they are rich protein sources. One cup of cooked lentils provides 18 g of protein and 16 g fibre. It also provides 90% of daily folate needs, 37% of iron, 49% of manganese, 36% of phosphorus, 22% of thiamin, 21% of potassium and 18% of vitamin B6.
- Tofu: I love the versatility of tofu. I can use it in almost any dish that requires a replacement for animal protein. I also enjoy eating it on its own as a snack. Baked in the oven and it is YUM! Tofu has a similar nutritional profile to soya beans except that it has a slightly higher fat content.
So there you have it, my top 5 sources of vegan protein! What are your favourite vegan protein sources? Chime in below and feel free to share this post if you have enjoyed reading it.