A common concern that we hear from our vegetarian and vegan Afterburners is that they are lacking sufficient protein. Rest assured, a well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet can still provide you with all the nutrients you need including sufficient protein. It is important that we have sufficient protein as a part of our diet because it promotes muscle strength, fullness, and weight loss.
Heres a list of plant foods that contain a high amount of protein that you can use in your next vegetarian or vegan meal or snack:
This is a popular protein source for many vegetarians and vegans, it is made from gluten which is the main protein in wheat. It resembles the look and texture of meat when cooked. Seitan contains about 25 grams of protein in only about 100g which makes it a really rich source of protein. You can find this meat alternative in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores, and find a recipe to use it in that sparks your interest.
Tofu, Tempeh and Edamame:
Tofu, tempeh and edamame all originate from soybeans which are considered a whole source of protein because they provide the body with all the essential amino acids it needs. All three contain iron, calcium and 10-19g of protein per 100g. Edamame can be eaten on it’s own steamed or boiled and tofu and tempeh can be used in a variety of different recipes such as burgers, soups, chili’s, and more!
At a whopping 18g pf protein per cooked cup, lentils are an excellent source of protein. Not only do lentils provide a hefty amount of protein but they also provide a good amount of slowly digested carbs and a single cup of them provides over 50% of your recommended daily fiber intake. Lentils can be used in a variety of dishes ranging from fresh salads, to hearty soups.
Chickpeas and Most Varieties of Beans:
Kidney, black, pinto and most other varieties of beans contain high amounts of protein per serving. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans are another legume that has a high amount of protein. Both beans and chickpeas contain about 15g of protein per cooked cup, but are also an excellent source of complex cabs, fiber, iron, folate phosphorous, potassium, and manganese. Add beans to your chili, your burrito bowl, or season them and eat alone.
Nutritional yeast is a deactivated chain of saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast, and is sold as a yellow powder or flakes. It has a cheesy sort of flavor which makes it tasty in pasta dishes, Mac and cheese and tofu. This complete source of plant protein provides the body with 14g of protein per ounce.
Spelt and Teff:
These are ancient grains. Spelt is a type of wheat that contains gluten, whereas teff originates from an annual grass which makes it gluten free. Spelt and Teff provide 10-11g of protein per cooked cup. These are the ancient grains highest in protein. These can be used in baked goods, polenta and even risotto. If you can’t find them in your grocery store, you can find them online!
The little green peas often served as a side dish contain 9g of protein per cooked cup making it a little more than a glass of milk. Pea’s also contain 25% of your daily fiber, vitamins and other important nutrients. You can use peas in recipes such soups, and doctor them up to eat as a delicious side dish. Today, pea milk and pea based vegan protein supplements are very popular as well.
Ezekiel Bread and Other Breads Made From Sprouted Grains:
Ezekiel Bread is made from organic, sprouted whole grains and legumes. These include millet, barley and spelt, as well as soybeans and lentils. Two slices of Ezekiel bread contains about 8g of protein which is a little bit more than normal bread.
Milk that is made from soybeans and fortified with vitamins and minerals, and can be a great alternative to cows milk. It contains about 7g of protein, and contains calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. It is best to opt for an unsweetened variety to keep the amount of added sugars to a minimum.
Oats and Oatmeal:
Oats are an easy and delicious way to add protein to any diet. Half a cup of dry oats gives you about 6g of protein and 4g of fiber. Oats are not considered a complete protein, but they do contain higher quality protein than other commonly consumed grains like rice and wheat. Oats can be used in oatmeal, or ground and used as a flour for baking. If you want to get really wild, you can mix them into your meat alternative and make burgers!
Contains approximately 1.5x as much protein as other long-grain rices. One cup provides 7g of protein, in addition to a good amount of fiber and other nutrients.
Chia seeds contain 6g of protein and 13g of fiber in only a 35g serving. Chia seeds are incredibly versatile. They are bland and are able to absorb water which makes them turn into a gel-like substance. This makes them a great addition to smoothies, baked goods and even puddings.
Protein-Rich Fruits and Vegetables:
All fruits and vegetables contain a small amount of protein. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, sweet potatoes, and regular potatoes are all decent sources of protein containing about 4-5g per cooked cup. Fruits generally have a lower protein content than vegetables. Those containing the most protein are guava, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines, and bananas which all contain about 2-4g of protein per cup.
The Bottom Line:
Protein deficiencies among vegans and vegetarians are far from being the norm, however when you are exercising and living an active lifestyle it is essential to get enough protein in your diet so that have enough fuel to make it through life. This list can be used as a guide for anybody interested in adding plant proteins into their diet