“Where do you get your protein?” It’s a question that all plant-based eaters are used to getting on a daily basis. People are often surprised to hear that meat, dairy, or eggs are not needed to meet your protein requirements. In fact, there are a wide variety of plant-based foods that contain substantial amounts of protein.
You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen whipping up protein-rich meals, nor do you need to seek out exotic ingredients, at equally exotic stores. There are several easy ways to increase your protein intake on a plant-based diet. Exploring new dietary options and alternatives can be a fun adventure, so whether you’re a long-time vegan or a newbie, here are five sources of plant-based protein you can easily include in your meals, drinks, smoothies, and snacks throughout the day.
1. Hemp protein
Hemp protein powder is made by grinding seeds from the hemp plant into a fine powder that is great as a protein powder replacement in all relevant recipes. Rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and filling fiber, this superfood is also a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. With a mild, nutty flavour, hemp protein is very versatile and easy to digest. Add a scoop to your smoothie or use it in baking to give your favourite recipes a protein boost. With about five grams of protein in just a 25 gram serving, this protein-packed powder is a must-have staple on a vegan diet.
2. Nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is an inactive powdered yeast with an umami flavour. This vegan-friendly ingredient is used to add a cheesy flavour to everything from popcorn to garlic bread to pasta. Not only does it provide a rare, non-animal source of vitamin B12, but it also packs a powerful protein punch. One tablespoon of nutritional yeast is only 20 calories and provides three grams of protein. Add a generous serving of nutritional yeast to salads, steamed or roasted veggies, popcorn, sautéed tofu, cooked whole grains, or pasta. It can even be used to make a deliciously creamy vegan cheese sauce!
3. Nuts and nut butters
Nuts are a great protein-rich snack to keep on hand. A quarter cup of mixed nuts has about five grams of protein. They’re also quite calorie-dense so keep your portions in check by measuring out quarter-cup servings that you can keep in your pantry, gym bag, or desk drawer. Another option is to use nut butters, such as almond butter or cashew butter. Smear a tablespoon or two of nut butter on a piece of whole-grain toast for a snack with roughly 12 grams of protein!
4. Hemp seeds
The seeds of a hemp plant are edible and highly nutritious with a high concentration of soluble and insoluble fiber, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and fatty acids. Hemp seeds are a complete protein that can be sprinkled onto porridge, cereal, yoghurt, salad, avocado toast—anything really! This superfood is also easy to add to your favourite smoothie and baked goods. With eight grams of protein in a 25 gram serving, hemp seeds are an excellent, nutritious food that can quickly add a punch of plant-based protein to your meals.
5. Canned beans
What could be easier than opening a can of beans and adding them to your salad or pasta dish? With about 15 grams of protein per cup, beans are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. If you’re feeling a bit more ambitious, try making a big batch of bean-based soup for a comforting, protein-rich meal that will last you a few days.
Not as hard as you thought right?
With protein-packed options like hemp seeds at your disposal, it’s actually quite easy to get all the protein you need from a vegan diet. And If you’re a seasoned vegan warrior, I hope I helped you expand your horizons with something new or interesting. Whether you’re an athlete or an average Joe, there are plenty of easy ways to add a boost of protein to your daily meals and snacks.