Meeting the necessary amount of protein from your regular food consumption is an essential nutrient component. Moreover, when it comes to veganism, obtaining protein is not at all an unmanageable task.
Plants and plant-based protein sources have the ability to fulfill the protein requirements of vegans. This means vegans could meet their protein needs simply by adding protein-rich food like beans, nuts and seeds, quinoa, and soy. There are several other food sources that we have listed later in this article. Scroll down to learn in detail how do vegans get protein as desired.
How Do Vegans Get Protein?
Choosing to be vegan has recently become a popular personal preference. The questions and doubts in relation to being a vegan also have equally risen. The uncertainty of satisfying the protein needs of vegans is among those commonly asked questions. In fact, when you do not eat and do not consume dairy products, plants and plant-based products are ever-ready to supply the protein requirement that your body needs. Vegans can fulfill their protein demands by whole plant, plant-based products, or plant-based vegan protein powder. Alternatively, some even prefer vegan protein bars as a part of their healthy snacks. However, getting the required regular dose of protein is vital with whatever food you eat.
Best Protein Sources For Vegans
As mentioned above, plants and plant-based products are the primary sources that vegans have to get their dose of protein. So, here we have listed the ten best sources of proteins that you include in your daily diet.
Plant and Plant-based Protein Sources
The simplest form for a vegan to obtain protein is consuming plant and plant-based products high in protein. This list will show the nutritional value of each plant-based protein source and their general amount of protein per serving.
01 – Legumes
Beans, peas, and lentils that come under the umbrella of legumes are considered the powerhouse of protein in the vegan diet. You can get most of your protein as a vegan when you include legumes in your regular diet.
|Legume||Amount of protein in 1 cup|
|White beans||17.4 g|
|Cranberry beans||16.5 g|
|Split peas||16.3 g|
|Kidney beans||15.3 g|
|Black beans||15.2 g|
|Navy beans||15 g|
|Lima beans||14.7 g|
|Mung beans||14.2 g|
|Fava beans||12.9 g|
02 – Nuts and Seeds
When you go vegan, nuts and seeds have the ability to serve as a protein substitute for eggs, fish, and meat. According to the dietary guidelines, an adult may take 30g (1 oz) of nuts on most days of the week as a healthy snack. However, if you are a vegan, You may require more than 30 grams of nuts and seeds per day to meet sufficient protein.
|Seeds and Nuts||Amount of protein per 100g|
|Cashew Nuts||15.3 g|
|Pine nuts||13.7 g|
|Macadamia nuts||7.9 g|
|Chia seeds||16.5 g|
|Sesame seeds||17 g|
|Flax seeds||18.3 g|
|Sunflower seeds||19.3 g|
|Pumpkin seeds||29.8 g|
|Hemp seeds||31.6 g|
03 – Highest Vegetable Protein for Vegans
Generally, almost all of us incorporate veggies into our daily food plates. Some vegetables contribute to fulfilling the protein needs in sound amounts while balancing the diet in nutrition.
|Vegetable||Amount of protein per 100g|
|Alfalfa sprouts||4 g|
|Yellow sweet corn||3.3 g|
|Brussels sprouts||3.4 g|
|Collard greens||3 g|
|Green beans||2.4 g|
|Mustard greens||2.9 g|
|Chinese cabbage||1.5 g|
04 – Whole Grains
As vegans, another best source to include protein in your diet is by eating whole grains. Also, whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that will provide you with the perfect balance to your intake.
|Grain||Amount of protein of 1 cup|
|Brown rice||5 g|
05 – Fruits
Fruits are natural eye candy that most of us are tempted to taste any time of the day. We all know that a balanced diet involves fruits and when it comes to protein, fruits, too, can contribute to some extent. Here is a list of protein-rich fruits that you can have as a part of your vegan diet.
|Fruit||Amount of protein per 1 cup|
06 – Tofu
There are many delicious ways to prepare tofu, and it comes to the store in different forms. Tofu is basically cheese produced from soy milk and is an excellent protein source. Moreover, it is one hundred percent vegan friendly and has around 8g (0.3 oz) of protein in 100g (4 oz) of tofu. You can also enjoy homemade tofu by coagulating soy milk. Types of tofu are as follows:
- Firm tofu
- Silken tofu
- Extra-firm tofu
- Frozen tofu
- Fermented tofu
- Extra soft tofu
07 – Tempeh
Tempeh is prepared from cooked soybeans which serve as another powerhouse of protein for vegans. It is much less processed than tofu which is also higher in calories and higher in protein than tofu. Most vegans incorporate tempeh with other dishes, and there are great recipes to cook it. In terms of protein, it has about 20g (0.8 oz) of protein in 100g ( 4 oz) of tempeh.
08 – Seitan
Seitan is a popular food among vegans, which is also a staple source of protein. It contains around 21g (0.8 oz) of protein in one serving. Most importantly, seitan is a life-saver for vegans who are intolerable or allergic to soy products. Prepare with one hundred percent wheat gluten, and seitan can be bought from your local store or supermarket or can even be made at home.
09 – Vegan Protein Powders/ Vegan Protein Bars
If you are a smoothie enthusiast or a gym freak, vegan protein powders will come to save your life! Vegan protein powders are made 100% vegan-friendly using plant extracts like hemp seed extract, pea extract, and rice extract. As mentioned earlier, vegan protein powders add great flavor and texture to smoothies and are excellent for shakes. Usually, in a quarter cup of vegan protein powder, you could get about 22g (0.8 oz) of protein.
You can pick your personal favorite vegan protein powder from the most highly rated products we have listed down here.
Vegan protein bars, on the other hand, will be your perfect go-to snack or indulgent meal. They are produced from isolated protein, just like vegan protein powders using extracts like pea, hemp, or rice. Vegan protein bars taste great and can contribute to your daily protein intake. Most protein bars of 70g (3 oz) contain like 15g (0.5 oz) of protein. Also, you could purchase them from the store or enjoy your own homemade version of vegan protein bars.
Here are a few best selling vegan protein bars that you can choose from:
10 – Plant-based Milk
Not only for vegans, but plant-based milk is also an excellent choice for people who are lactose intolerant. You can pick your favorite plant-based milk from a variety of them. However, the amount of protein may have slight variation depending on the brand.
|Non-dairy Milk||Amount of protein per cup|
|Soy milk||7 – 20 g|
|Almond milk||1 g|
|Oat milk||3 – 4 g|
|Peanut Milk||6 g|
|Coconut milk||1 g|
|Rice milk||1 g|
|Hemp milk||2 – 4 g|
|Pea milk||4 – 8 g|
|Pistachio milk||2 g|
|Walnut milk||3 g|
|Macadamia milk||1 g|
|Flax milk||3 g|
|Cashew milk less than||1 g|
|Hazelnut milk||3 g|
|Quinoa milk||2.6 g|
|Sesame milk||6.7 g|
According to nutritionists, soy milk is considered to have the most protein compared to other plant-based milk. As shown above, a cup of unflavored soy milk contains around 7-20g (0.3- 0.8 oz) of protein, depending on the brand.
Natural Vegan Plant Proteins Vs Vegan Protein Powders
It is evident that both natural plant proteins and vegan or plant-based protein powders help to answer the protein requirement of vegans. However, when in comparison, both could have their own pros and cons. The list below is essentially based on social data, which means some of these pros and cons are not clinically proven.
Pros of Natural Vegan Plant Protein
- Reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases- Natural vegan plant protein lowers bad cholesterol and saturated fats. Moreover, they are powerful in healthy plant steroid alcohols, which can mainly improve a person’s cardiovascular health and overall wellness.
- Helps digestion- Most plant-based proteins are packed with wholesome fibers. Therefore, they directly promote digestion and absorption and decrease symptoms of bloating and gastritis.
- Ability to choose and mix- You can always have the choice when consuming natural plant proteins. Furthermore, you can include one or more protein sources according to your preference.
- Absence of additives and preservatives- When you consume natural proteins, you can be sure that no additives or preservatives are added to them. In fact, you do not have to fear health concerns unless you are not allergic to any of those sources.
- Cost-effectiveness- When it comes to the money you have to spend on natural protein sources, it is much more favorable to your wallet. Natural plant protein sources are readily available and way cheaper.
Cons of Natural Vegan Plant Protein
- Some plant proteins may not have all the amino acids required by our body. Therefore, you will have to seek to get them by combining a few plant proteins.
Pros of Vegan Protein Powder
- Taste- Many vegan protein powders are rich in taste. So, those who are taste-conscious will obviously go for it.
- Contains essential nutrients- A good protein powder will provide almost all the required nutrients from just one serving.
- Easier on the grab-and-go – Most of us are running with our lives and have a limited amount of time to be watchful on what we eat. In that case, relying upon a protein powder will be your best bet not to be on a protein deficiency.
Cons of Vegan Protein Powders
- Vegan protein powders are comparatively high in cost. Thus, unlike most natural plant proteins, powders cannot be cost-effective and can be unaffordable in the long run.
Protein-Rich Vegan Recipes
As we have mentioned about a plethora of protein-rich vegan foods on top of this article, integrating and incorporating them into your regular dishes are accessible. Vegan meal options are plenty when you know the trick to add the perfect ingredient to the proper dish. This is one of the leading causes why we notice some people fail to be on a vegan diet for long. In fact, vegans do not have to undergo a protein deficiency if they include the food that we have listed above in their regular food intake. However, it is crucial to have proper knowledge of the amount of protein you should have daily in order to avoid overconsumption of underconsumption.
For example, you can make vegan mac and cheese using nutritional yeast and vegan macaroni, which will come out just as creamier as conventional mac and cheese. In addition, deliciously-made tofu will make a perfect breakfast, replacing the typical egg scramble. Seitan makes an ideal meat replacer, and once it is made into a stir-fry with black beans, there you will get a dish full of protein. Likewise, there are loads of tasty recipes you could try from plant-based protein sources, which can help you reach the adequate daily protein intake requirement.
And, if you are interested in trying vegan breakfast recipes, you can read our article that has a lot of mouthwatering vegan breakfast ideas.
For more vegan recipes, you could go ahead and try these cookbooks that give you plenty of recipes and ideas.
What Is The Required Amount Of Protein Per Day?
Protein is a vital nutrient to our body. Protein in our daily diet helps to make new cells and repair cells. In addition, it is also a crucial nutrient that helps the growth of children, adolescents, and the wellness of pregnant women. Since balance is key to our diet, it is necessary to get protein only in the required amounts. However, well-reputed nutrition organizations recommend,
- An average inactive adult should take 0.8 g (0.03 oz) of protein per kilogram of body weight ( a person who weighs 75kg (165 lb) should get 60g (2 oz) of protein)
- An average active adult who engages in regular physical activities/exercises should take 1.1-1.5g ( 0.04 oz) of protein per kilogram of body weight ( someone who weighs 75kg (165 lb) should consume about 83- 113g (3- 4 oz) of protein)
What Happens If I Over Consume Vegan Protein?
Protein is essential to our body, but too much of anything will definitely lead to adverse effects. According to research data, overconsumption of protein may negatively impact your metabolism. Which means it can impair your kidneys, liver, and bones. Over-the-limit consumption of protein can give you these symptoms:
- Risk of weight gain due to excess calories in protein sources.
- Intestinal discomforts
- Bad breath
Underconsumption Of Vegan Protein And Its Effects
It is not a secret that your body demands protein each day to run suitably and sustain your lean muscle mass. Just like you have adverse effects of overconsumption of protein, you will likely be in trouble if you go on a protein deficiency.
Negative effects of protein deficiency:
- Fatty liver disease
- Flaky, split, or depigmented skin
- Hair loss, hair thinning, and faded hair color.
- Brittle nails or inability to grow nails
- Loss of muscle mass
- Kwashiorkor (edema and swollen abdomen)
- Risk of bone fractures
- Growth problems in children
- Poor immunity – which will lead to chronic infections
Plant protein sources are gifts given from mother nature to satisfy the regular protein requirement of the human body. So, you see that you do not have to depend on meat or animals to fulfill your daily protein intake. In fact, being a vegan is not at all an impediment to eating foods that are rich in protein. By consuming the required amount of vegan proteins, you can bypass the risk of protein deficiency and be fit and healthy. Moreover, non-dairy products associated with plant-based milk will offer a great opportunity to people who are lactose intolerant.
Hence, we hope our article filled you with an abundance of erudition and insight into how vegans get protein.